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Sam Smith ft Kim Petras 'Unholy' by Floria Sigismondi

Promonews - 12th Oct 2022

Floria Sigismondi returns to music videos with a theatrical blockbuster for Sam Smith's chart-topping Unholy, featuring Kim Petras.

Shot in London, this eye-popping extravaganza is a musical set-piece packed with flair, pizzazz and sexual energy - with Sam as the charismatic MC of a small army of show-people at The Body Shop, the LGBTQ+ cabaret where lustful dreams come true. 

With cameos by Gottmik and Violet Chachki from RuPaul's Drag Race, and porn star Paddy O'Brian, the film follows a husband who ducks out on his wife and sneaks off to his favorite sex club cabaret, where he soon finds his guilty pleasures revealed in a very public manner. After discovering her husband’s unfaithful ways, the film concludes with the wife character becoming liberated by her own sexuality, rather than a victim to the scandal.

A modern retelling of the spectacle of cabaret, Sigismondi has drawn upon her upbringing for this - she was born to Italian opera singer parents, and grew up amid the theatrical and the avant-garde - and applied her trademark cinematic style previously seen in her award-winning work for the likes of Gucci, Rihanna, David Bowie, and Justin Timberlake.

Choreographed by French dance collective (LA)HORDE, who are famed for their ability to develop scenarios and actions that take up radically contemporary themes and questions, the seductive music video is a visual feast led by a diverse and queer cast.

With references to French surrealist photographer Claude Cahun and noted corset maker of the late 20th Century, Mr. Pearl, the video’s costume designer Lisa Jarvis created an impressive range of otherworldly looks for the enormous ensemble, who were cast by Hannah Ashby Ward at Lane Casting (an LGBTQ+ owned company) to showcase real, diverse and unapologetic bodies. 

Floria Sigismondi, Director, comments: “I grew up in the world of theatre and opera. This film presented the platform for me to reach deep into that history. It was important to me to bring the theatrics and drama to the film while also giving it a modern feel. We were not interested in creating a period piece. We wanted to create our own world. The theatre and setting gave us the history of cabaret but the costumes broadened that and injected a modern element. For me it's a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and creating that celebration was the most important and joyous experience."

Jannie McInnes, Executive Producer at Scheme Engine, adds: “The creative excellence and expression across departments on this project completely blew my mind. Floria sets a high bar, inspires people to bring their most creative selves and she wants everyone to have fun doing it. We are really grateful to Sam and the label for affording us the luxury of real prep time and we used every second of it!”

Lisa Jarvis, Wardrobe Stylist, continues: “I've been a fan of Floria's work for quite a while, and as soon as I saw the mood board and heard A Clockwork Orange, Claude Cahun, Mr. Pearl, Crazy Horse, I knew it was right up my alley and would be hella fun to dive into. Taking the references in mind, I wanted to create a world where there was a huge range of visual looks and everyone embraced them. It needed to be otherworldly, opulent, sensual, and a little bit intoxicating to watch with more than a strong twist of naughty.”

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Promonews - 12th Oct 2022


  • Performance
  • Pop
  • Cabaret
  • Sex
  • LGBTQ+

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Floria Sigismondi
Maurizio Von Trapp
Production Company
Production Company
Executive Producer
Jannie McInnes
Executive Producer
Alexa Haywood
Production Manager
Aidan Robert Brooks
Production Manager
Amanda Tuckwell
1st AD
Chris Kelly


Director of Photography
Joel Honeywell
Focus Puller
Lami Okrekson


Tom Nowell
Key Grip
Jac Hopkins


Art Director
Anna Barnett
Production designer
Arthur De Boreman


Ben Reardon
Lisa Jarvis
Ilham Mestour
Sienree Du
Anna-maria Negri
Wardrobe 1st Assistant
Daniel Gray


Marine Brutti
Arthur Harel
Jonathan Debrouwer


Casting director
Hannah Ashby Ward
Casting director
Hannah Ashby Ward
Lead actor
Maren Bjorneseth
Lead actor
Henry Davis
Casting Company
LANE Casting London


Colour Producer
Blake Rice
Parker Jarvie
Stefan Sonnenfeld
Colour grade company
Company 3


Post production company


Director's Rep (UK)

Promonews - 12th Oct 2022

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