Colin Tilley is done working with assholes, but he couldn’t speak more glowingly of his time directing Post Malone and Young Thug’s “Goodbyes” video, which released last Friday (July 5). Even though his decorated resume already boasts clips ranging from Chris Brown to Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears, the laid-back California native was ecstatic to finally have the chance to team up with the likes of Posty and Thugger.
Malone left the 31-year-old filmmaker with a couple simple notes prior to shooting the visual back in May, with requests of being killed and returning back as a zombie. Then, the night before the shoot, Colin was forced to reshuffle a bit after receiving a text from Posty saying he wanted his character to suffer a pathetic death in the rockabilly clip. “I want to die like a bitch right at the top. Like there’s all this tension and then I get murked out,” Tilley recalled the “Wow” rapper writing.
The 1950s Western-themed flick finds Malone stabbed and left to die after a gruesome altercation with a rival gang member within the first minute. Posty then returns as a zombie to reconnect with his love interest, who is played by Kathryn Newton. The “rated R” video has amassed over 24 million views within the five days, and the PG-version also released earlier this week to serve Posty’s younger audience.
Check out our interview with Colin Tilley, as he gives a behind-the-scenes look at directing “Goodbyes,” Malone’s love of Bud Light, the director’s cut that will be released later this month, plus much more.
Billboard: When did the concept for “Goodbyes” come together?
Colin Tilley: All of it came together about two months ago. I was super-excited because Post was one of the guys I’ve been looking forward to shooting. We’ve never worked together before. I got the song and Post was like, “Yo, I want to die in a knife fight and come back as a zombie.” Those were his two notes. I wrote the entire concept’s storyline within three hours. This was something he clearly was inspired [by] and it’s my job to bring the vision alive.
How exactly is working with Post Malone on a video shoot?
It was such a fun concept to execute. Post was incredible, and just an all-around genuine dude to be with on set. You look forward to those where you love their music and you’re like, “I hope they live up to the hype.” He was on time and ready to get down with whatever. He was so good to everyone on the crew as well. I think the piece was able to come alive in a beautiful way because he’s such a strong collaborator and there were no handcuffs on me while I was directing.
Where did you guys shoot the visual at?
It was shot in Santa Clarita outside of Los Angeles. We built all the sets and only had one day to shoot. When you only have 14 hours of daylight to execute something, everyone’s gotta be strong. Styling is everything. As long as your actors look on beat, you’re winning.
What was Thugger’s involvement with the shoot?
Thug was super excited as well. We kept meeting up over the years and we were finally able to collaborate on something together. He was so much fun to work with. He’s got an incredible energy. I’d be shooting Post and tell Thug to come watch and he’d be like, “Oh my god, that’s a fucking movie!” I felt like he’s the only guy that could play that character we have on stage. He was mysterious and fit into our world perfectly. He didn’t take over, but the perfect cherry on top to the scene.
Was there anything specific Post wanted for the fight scene?
Post hit me with a note the night before the shoot. He was like, “I want to die like a bitch right at the top. Like there’s all this tension and then I get murked out.” I just love that. It feels like there’s going to be some epic knife fight, but then he’s gone on the first swing. I feel like the rated R version was important to convey what the big picture is. We’re going to release an official director’s cut in two weeks as well. I had a two-minute intro that gets more of the angst and tension across. There’s going to be several different versions. The song is going to be a smash so I feel like everyone’s going to watch, on some pure fan shit.
Whose idea is it to have an R-rated video and then follow-up with a PG-rated version days later?
I think that was literally released because the video was getting restricted online. It was for the younger fanbase.
You captioned an IG photo with Post Malone, “The goal is to work with genuine people who really care about the process. This guy is it.” What about him embodies that quote?
The way that Post approaches the creative process is purely out of being a genuine person. When you’re able to put that energy out to my crew and be approachable, that does something to the atmosphere where everyone feels like they can really cook and try different ideas. You don’t want to walk on eggshells when you’re trying to create.The videos are always going to turn out good, but I don’t like something unless the experience was really great. This is why I signed up for this.
What made Kathryn Newton the right actress for the love interest?
That’s someone that I’ve selfishly had my eye on, because I definitely want to cast her in a film. When it was time to pick leads, that was someone I thought we had to get and everyone was on board. She ended up being a huge Post Malone fan as well. We only had an hour to shoot that fight scene. It takes a real actress to pull that off without it being cliche. She gave incredibly real reactions.
Does Post Malone just slug Bud Lights on set?
The Bud Light shit is all real. That dude just loves Bud Light. We pulled up to the set at the same time. I’m cracking my coffee, and he’s cracking a Bud Light. This is 11 a.m. and it’s just him. It’s an authentic experience. That’s like my favorite shot of the video.
Who else are you working with at the moment?