It had been several years since New Order made an album. In 2001 they came out with Get Ready. Crystal was the first single and the record company planned to make a video. The band asked me to find a director, but at the same time London Record's commissioner, Alan Parks, was also searching for a director. So for the first time I was, in a sense, competing for the job. I could not just come up with one director and idea and go and make the video. This put me in an unusual position.
I began contacting several directors whom I thought would be interested and make a good video. These included Michael Winterbottom (“24-hour Pary People”), Gaspar Noé (“Irreversible”), Ildikó Enyedi (“My Twentieth Century”), David Gordon Green (“George Washington”) and Leos Carax (“Les Amants des Pont Neuf”). They were all interested.
What I was thinking for Winterbottom was his using the actors playing New Order in his film to represent the band in the video. He had another idea that was more “on the road.” Green proposed a poetic video featuring young kids. Enyedi had something magical in mind, centered around an internet “shack” in the very rural countryside of Hungary . Noé had a high-tech idea floating over a landscape. Carax did not write a thing.
When Mark Romanek suggested that I contact Leos Carax, though I long admired his work, there was the reputation of how over-budget his “Les Amants” film went. So I was a bit anxious. But I admired his work.
Through Carax's then, now sadly late, cameraman, Jean-Yves Escoffier (“Gumma”), I emailed Leos. I arranged to have a cassette of the music sent to him, and I waited. Not too long after he wrote and directed me to a web site. Here I found a home-made video Leos had constructed starring his dog and his cat. It was amusing as well as making fun of the video format. Leos wrote that “the video will cost you nothing, but my fee will be large.”
I knew this could not be THE video for NO or the record company, but I tried to encourage someone to pay for the video to put on their web site. It would be true to the NO style to do things different. But I could not persuade anyone. Still, this was the beginning of a good friendship for me. Carax's video has played in international film festivals and now I can deliver it to the public on this web site!
Then I tried to contact Jonas Auckerland because it had become clear that the record company, and the band, wanted a more commercial director. Jonas had done notable work for Madonna, as well as the edgy “Smack Your Bitch Up” for Prodigy. I was informed that Auckerland was not available but his partner, Johan Renck, was.
I submitted all of my proposals for the video, and mentioned Johan. Alan Parks had also been in touch with Johan. In the end he was the director chosen to direct the video.
In this situation Johan had his own producer and I acted as “executive producer.” Basically, I represented the band on the shoot since they were not in the video.
The casting went well for the band members. However, the female backup singer was supposed to be a model but she was not available. Johan proposed an older woman who looked a bit like Nico and could have been one of the boys' mother. Johan suggested building a little flirtation between the keyboard player and the woman. I like the idea, and we went with it.
I cannot recall whether it was a long one day shoot or two days in the studio, but towards the end New Order were in London and stopped by. They loved the set and the band, but Bernard had a real problem with the woman. He hated the way she danced.
In the edit Johan had to try and edit her out as much as possible. Sometimes he blurred her image. It is too bad. I think his original idea would have worked and added an atypical idea to a music video going beyond the great idea of creating an entirely different image for the band…another band!
If the woman had been a young model, Bernard would have been happy. He was pretty upset with me. This reminded me of the “Getting Away With It” video for Electronic. I had Chris Marker direct. Bernard thought the woman looked like a junkie or such. It is a beautiful video with Johnny Marr and guest Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys) joining Bernard in the studio at Abbey Road inter-cut with a woman walking though a forest listening to and singing along to the song. In retrospect Bernard was right. I failed as a producer by not insisting on someone much younger for the MTV audience. I still like the video a lot. And I am told that Neil Tennant liked it as well.