David Knight - 23rd Jan 2008

PromoNews: Your White Stripes video for Conquest is great - pure entertainment. How did the project happen - and why did you think Jack would go for the idea of being a bullfighter who falls in love with his bull
Diane Martel: I gave the song to my friend Jonathan Lethem [author of acclaimed novels Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress Of Solitude and others] he listened to it and pitched the idea to me. I loved it and I wrote it up. It's a simple strong idea, and it works with the lyrics. Jack is a first rate actor, I suppose he was interested in the character and thought it would be fun to shoot.

The chemistry (or lack of) between Meg and Jack is interesting. Can't recall seeing that edge of hostility from Meg before! Did they enjoy getting into character
They has a good time with it, Meg is quite an ace actress as well - she's subtle and mysterious. Her character's disinterest in him helped sell the idea that he was a dickhead egotist.
Where did you shoot And were there any hard parts - or even any dangerous bull-centric moments
We shot in LA and were lucky to find a proper bullfighting ring that was painted red and white - serendipity. We had five fighting bulls and one docile cow. Each bull had a time constraint of 20 minutes of full blown action in him, then after that they became bored and uncooperative. Bizarre scheduling that. The bullfighter was amazing to watch too - he had an excellent time.
I guess one of the themes of the video is that killing mute creatures for sport is definitely bad. Or am I being ridiculously sensitive and missing the whole point
Sure, we think bullfighting is evil... You're not particularly renowned for cartoonish comedy, so is this video departure for you
Well, at the moment I'm creating and writing an animated show, with a writer named James Smith - it's called Little Gay Monsters from Brooklyn. I love cartoons, camp, Grand Guignol, etc. I'm a huge comedy fan. Sure, you don't get the chance with many music videos to explore this - you need smart, open-minded artists who are willing to take the piss - and who can pull off fun.

You went from Conquest to making the video for Alicia Keys' Like You'll Never See Me Again, which is quite a stretch. How did that project come together
Alicia and I had done another video together. She is a lovely, smart, intense girl. That job came together organically - it was the most calm, lovely shoot I've ever had. Alicia said the same.
It's funny, the two times we've worked together she had to bawl, and I had to make her. We have a joke about me making her cry! I had to say some rather mean things to her about her "dead" boyfriend. She did a great job keeping it going - it's not pleasant to stay in a stare of hysterics, but maybe it is more deep if you have written a song about something hugely emotional and personal. More so than if you are an actor in someone else's world.
Now Common, having to play stone dead in a bloody operating scene and while Alicia was hysterical (they are great friends) did a great job. That could not have been easy at all.
Much of your US work has been R&B and hip-hop based but then you gravitate towards British indie bands (Editors, Kooks, Franz Ferdinand, etc) with apparent ease. Is there a secret to being versatile and moving between music genres
I listen to good music old and new. If I like a song I can do a good job. I keep up with all genres. I prefer working with smart bands, with great taste... duh, who doesn't The secret for me is one for money, one for fun. Sometimes the money jobs can be fun too, that's always nice. How is it working in music videos these days - you still finding it rewarding most of the time
I still enjoy it. It's a great job, cant be beat. The budgets have come way down but that makes it all the more challenging, which keeps it fresh. It's a blessing to have my job.

What videos you've made are you most proud of, and bring back the fondest memories
I love the Franz [Do You Want To], N.E.R.D.'s Provider, and the Cribs' Mens Needs. All were great fun to shoot and the artists lovely, interesting and inspiring people. I love Bring The Pain for Method Man.

David Knight - 23rd Jan 2008

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