"A love story in a cursed land" -- that's basically the elevator pitch director Warren Fu came up with for his mythologically inspired video for The Weeknd's "I Feel It Coming." The Space Age tale of a doomed love that turns to stone was shot in a whirlwind one-day blitz on a Los Angeles soundstage just before Christmas and held under wraps until Friday (March 10), when it fell out of the sky like a surprise visit from Daft Punk.
The French robots, of course, make a cameo at the end in the clip, which Fu tells Billboard was inspired by a variety of images and memories from his childhood. "I was thinking conceptually of the people who were entombed in the volcanic ash of Mt. Vesuvius... that pose," he says of the fate of The Weeknd and his love interest, who (spoiler alert) are turned to stone by clip's end. "I looked it up after we had shot it, and I realized I must have seen that photo of the guy reaching out," he says of the iconic image of a victim of the eruption in 79 A.D. that froze some of the people of Pompeii in mid-gesture in an ashen tomb. "When I was on set with Abel [The Weeknd], I said, 'Reach out your hand in this way like you're yearning for something, as if God has turned his back on you.'"
Some of the other images that informed the doomed-love storyline came from more modern takes on ancient tales, including the Medusa head-chopping scene from the cheesy 1981 Clash of the Titans movie Fu saw as a kid. "It's a somewhat romantic song, as far as The Weeknd goes -- a lot of his songs have a darkness to them -- and he has said in interviews that 'Starboy' is the super tough intro to the album and 'I Feel It Coming' is kind of the happy ending in the end credits."