David Knight - 23rd Dec 2008

Lily Allen is back, with lyrical sharpness and knowing on-camera presence fully intact.

And in Nez's video for The Fear, he counterpoints Lily's witty satire on the world of celebrity, with an inventive, surreal production number.

Lily goes directly from caravan to country pile - Wrest Park in Bedford - gliding through a platoon of dancing butlers, into rooms reflecting her role as a 'weapon of massive consumption', before the climax in the fabulous gardens of the estate - featuring her name spelled out in giant letters.

It's an impressive leap into the pop world for Nez after his MVA-winning clip for Kano's Hustler. And as he explains below, he thinks that Lily's cautionary cry for help comes straight from the heart...

Nez: "Originally I was going to make a viral for the album. Three days before the shoot she cancelled her calendar for two months, and took some time off.

"When it came back I was still going to do the viral for a while, but Katie [Griffiths, the video's commissioner] let me treat for the video. When I heard the track for the first time I immediately thought of Alice In Wonderland, and built my idea from then.

"I'd always thought she was singing about herself. It almost feels like she's one person some of the time, and then another at other times - she is taking the piss out of consumerism, but there's also some seriousness about it too. Hence the title: The Fear.

"The fact she hadn't made a video for two years, and having a shoot with such long hours might have been difficult for her. We started with the exteriors and it was freezing cold. She was still getting into it. And the final aerial shot of the house is a real matte painting - we took a photo then extended it massively.

"Probably the hardest part was the choreography. Due to her having the flu, Lily had missed the rehearsal, and had to learn it as we were going. She wasn't comfortable with the choreography because she hadn't rehearsed. But we adapted it.

"Overall it was close to my original vision. It couldn't really have any holes, but we had to cut around a couple of things. As a mood and as a look it achieved my objectives - and it's one I learned loads from: you only learn from the hard ones."

Credits

Make-upMiranda Joyce
Production CompanyColonel Blimp
ProducerGeorgina Filmore
Executive ProducerJohn Hassay
Director of PhotographyJake Polonsky
Art DirectorJames H
DirectorNez
HairSamantha Hiller
StylistLucy Manning
ChoreographerAlex Reynolds
ColouristPaul Harrison
EditorDan Sherwen
CommissionerK

David Knight - 23rd Dec 2008

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