Amidst its retro homages, Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar” video is a subtle reminder that the 24-year-old has serious acting chops. The former Disney Channel star has appeared in films like Spring Breakers and The Big Short as an adult, but had never played multiple roles at the same time. Now, Gomez can boast about playing a high school student, a gym coach, a mustached male teacher and her own mother all at once.
Gomez tapped TV director Jesse Peretz (Girls, Orange Is the New Black) to helm her latest visual: Although the 49-year-old hadn’t directed a music video in a decade, his Grammy-winning clip for Foo Fighters’ 1999 single “Learn to Fly” — where frontman Dave Grohl took on several roles — was the perfect blueprint.
Peretz says that the song’s sample of Talking Heads’ 1977 classic “Psycho Killer” triggered the desire to create a ’70s aesthetic for the video, which was filmed over two days in Los Angeles. “I started thinking of movies like Over the Edge and Dazed & Confused — there are some elements of kitsch from there,” says Peretz, noting that he brought in Kari Perkins, the costume designer from the 1976-set Dazed & Confused, for “Bad Liar.”
Peretz also commends Gomez for insisting that the video’s central love triangle among the student, gym coach and teacher break the heteronormative mold. “She brought on this idea that somewhere within this love triangle is lesbian attraction,” he says. “It just gave me another reason to do it — acknowledging that it’s not just heterosexuals in the world.”
Since its June 14 release, the video has garnered over 76 million YouTube views, and helped push “Bad Liar” from No. 45 to No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Meanwhile, Peretz has earned a win with his 10-year-old daughter, a huge Gomez fan. “I knew it would make her think I was cool,” he says with a laugh. “For 24 hours, at least.”