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Director Spills on Mysterious Character in The Weeknd’s Music Videos


Image Courtesy Lamar Taylor/Republic Records

The Weeknd has released three music videos to promote his latest album, Beauty Behind the Madness, all of which feature a recurring character dressed in all black. While the reclusive singer has yet to offer any insights on the cinematic visuals, director Grant Singer has spilled that the character is played by Rick Wilder, an actor he has worked with in the past.

In an interview with Pitchfork, Singer reveals how he was approached to film the videos for “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face”  and “Tell Your Friends” — in the last The Weeknd ruthlessly shoots Wilder in the desert.

“Initially I had no idea what I was going to do for The Weeknd. I hadn’t even heard the song,” Singer says, referring to “Hills” where Wilder is first introduced in a mansion.  “It wasn’t until I heard the song and met with Abel [Tesfaye, The Weekend’s birth name] that things started to shape up,” Singer says.

The director adds that he had no clue the visuals would be such a big success, racking up more than 380 million combined views on YouTube.  “I had no idea. No one did. Maybe The Weeknd did. Who knows? We just wanted to make a good video and make something that was cinematic that really evoked the music,” Singer says. “That was the only intention, to make a good video.”

Following Wilder’s eerie appearances, Singer reveals that the actor has begun to get recognized in public: “A mini riot started outside of 7-11 when all these kids recognized him. He couldn’t even go inside and get what he wanted to get. He had to run back to his car.”

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