In the most recent video of outtakes revealing the process behind Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off” video, Swift focuses her attention on the video’s director, Mark Romanek. Romanek has a star-studded resume, directing for Madonna, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Jay Z and more. Perhaps most notably, he helped put together the video for Michael Jackson‘s “Scream.” Watch the latest behind-the-scenes glimpse below:
Swift wanted Romanek for a very specific reason. “In doing a lot of research of videos I really loved,” she says, “the thing I thought we hadn’t accomplished yet was we hadn’t had a video that was striking and minimal. You have those very inconic videos where you can just picture one setup and it sticks out in your mind, and almost all of my favorite vidoes like that were mostly all directed by Mark. I knew he hadn’t done a video in a long time because he moved on to movies and films, so I knew it would be a very slim chance we’d get him.”
It is true that Romanek has been more active in film lately — in 2010, he directed Never Let Me Go, which starred Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. But what director wouldn’t want to helm a Taylor Swift video? Swift “flew someone out with this locked iPod to play [Romanek] the song before anyone else heard it,” and he was hooked.
Swift suggested the video’s concept. “What if I was with these ballerinas but I’m just a terrible ballerina and then I let it go and don’t try to be like them anymore and just be like me. And what if in the end dancing like me is good enough?” Romanek liked the idea so they went with it. Swift calls him “the perfect collaborator.”
In the outtakes, you get to see Romanek in action on set. His job includes assuring everyone that they’re “so adorable.” At one point, he tells Swift, “When you’re doing the ballet, you’re too good. Just do it worse.” “Shake It Off” is currently No. 2 on the Hot 100.