Larry Rudolph Finally Addresses Britney’s Scrapped Original ‘Make Me’ Video
It just wouldn't be a Britney Spears album campaign without a little bit of trouble, truh-uh-ble, now would it?
Let's address the awkward, sexy elephant in the room at last: #OriginalMakeMeVideo.
Loyal members of the Britney Army are already well aware of the entire ordeal, but for those less familiar, a quick catch-up: the original video for Glory's lead single "Make Me... (feat. G-Eazy)," as teased by Brit Brit herself for weeks, was shot by the legendary David LaChapelle back in early June. (Just for reference: he also shot her "Everytime" video, as well as that iconic 1999 Rolling Stone spread and cover shot with Tinky Winky, the maybe-gay Teletubby.)
By the time the official "Make Me" video premiered in early August, fans immediately realized something was awry — it was a different video altogether, without those half-naked dudes in the dungeon, shot by photographer/frequent collaborator, Randee St. Nicholas. As opposed to going the racy route initially teased, Britney swerved into silly territory, auditioning men alongside her giggly galpals to be her baybeh for the evening.
It was...uh, tame.
Fans were (rightfully) pissed. And, likely as an angry response to the backlash, even more of the original LaChapelle video started leaking in low quality.
Now, following an extensive amount of Twitter tirades and Change.org fan petitions, which then translated into major media headlines, and two weeks after the (accidental) early leak of Glory, Larry finally opened up about the controversy in a piece about the making of Britney's ninth studio album in LA Times today (September 7). And for fans thirsty for more (moah), it's...probably not what you wanted to hear.
“It’s really simple. The video just didn’t work. This is the first time we’ve re-shot a video, and because it’s Britney there are all kinds of conspiracies. Nobody is hiding anything," he said.
Rumors ran rampant about issues on set from the start back in June, including the suggestion that Britney fought with the director. Fueling that, there's this: behind-the-scenes footage of her filming inside of a bulldozer for "Make Me" — a scene which has yet to leak. If you listen closely, it sounds like she's screaming "I don't like it!" (Granted, she might have been joking — but it did raise some flags.)
Then, there was the idea that the "Make Me" video was considered "too sexy." If that were the case, it wouldn't be the first time she second-guessed herself: she admitted to scrapping a bunch of footage from 2013's "Work Bitch" because it was — yes! — too sexy.
"I cut out half the video because I am a mother and because, you know, I have children," she said at the time. As a result of that interview, which caused some to question whether Britney was being forced to be sexual on the shoot, Larry issued a statement: "Britney is never pressured into anything. She reviews all creative and for her 'Work Bitch' video she discussed toning down some parts in finding a balance of sexy and being a mom," he told TMZ.
As for this being "the first time" she's ever re-shot a video? She might not have ever wholly scrapped a video, but she's edited out entire plots before. "Perfume" director Joseph Kahn revealed himself last year that the original shoot for the 2013 video was much darker than the vague-looking final product. She was even seen pointing a gun in one unused scene. (And let's not forget those deleted scenes from 2007's ever-mysterious "Gimme More.")
So, the "Make Me" video "just didn't work." To that, Larry does make a valid point: feeding meat to cheetahs, putting on EOS lip balm in the reflection of a toaster, uncomfortable POV shots of G-Eazy making Britney oooh and dancer electrocution via television pool toss probably aren't the first images that come to mind when hearing something soft and sensual like "Make Me..." — but then, this is a LaChapelle production. So what, exactly, did everyone expect going into this?
She, at least, doesn't seem bothered.
"The video was definitely very fun to make, and I’m really happy with it. One thing that is really great about this video is that it shows you not take everything so seriously… and that our lives, friendships, and careers should always be fun!" she told Britney Galaxy of the official Randee St. Nicholas video before the release of Glory. ("Careers should always be fun!" — a subtle implication that the original video wasn't, perhaps?)
All this is to say: we still might not know the exact reason(s) the original "Make Me" video didn't see the light of day, be it on-set creative differences or her own discomfort with the final product. Perhaps we never will! She, and/or her team, simply changed their mind (no seas cortés). And with this official acknowledgement from Larry, it's apparent that the team's looking to let it go and move forward.
Disappointing? For sure. But in retrospect, it's a relatively small blemish on an otherwise incredible era for Britney.
But let's cut the s--t, be honest: this fanbase doesn't just forget. And now, as with Original Doll and everything else that never materialized, the original video for "Make Me..." is yet one more addition to the mythology of Britney Spears.
That "good, mysterious book" she promised to write one day in For The Record can't come soon enough. But can you handle her truth?
Britney Spears at the VMAs Through the Years: