Selena Gomez‘s ‘70s-inspired, one-woman-show video for “Bad Liar” allowed the 24-year-old singer to show off her acting chops, playing a high school student, a mustached male teacher, a basketball coach and her own mother all at once. Perhaps the most interesting part of the video, though, is the against-the-grain love triangle, as Gomez’s lead character longs for the female coach. Although it’s something video director Jesse Peretz (Girls, Orange is the New Black) thought viewers would catch right away, he admits he doesn’t mind the unexpected twist.
“I kind of like the idea that you get to the end, and then people are interested in watching it a second time,” he tells Billboard. “They can see how actually the story is leading there.”
The inclusion of lesbian attraction was something that Gomez insisted from the get-go, which was one of the many behind-the-scenes details Peretz shared in an interview for the July 22 issue of Billboard. But we could only give so much inside scoop in the magazine, so below we’ve compiled six more fun facts Peretz divulged for every Selenator to enjoy.
He and Selena have the same management — who played matchmaker for the video.
Both Peretz and Selena are clients of Lighthouse Management, which was formed by Aleen Keshishian in 2016. Peretz says Keshishian is still obsessed with the video he directed for the Foo Fighters’ 1999 hit “Learn to Fly,” in which frontman Dave Grohl played several different characters. When Gomez expressed her desire to play multiple roles in the “Bad Liar” video, Keshishian knew Peretz would be the perfect man for the job. “What Aleen said was, ‘Selena wants to do a video where she gets to really act, and maybe play different characters,’” he recalls. “That was the one direction that Aleen gave me.”
Peretz wasn’t all too familiar with Selena’s videos before they joined forces.
Once they were linked up, Peretz realized that despite having dinner with Gomez a couple times, he really didn’t know much about the singer’s video catalog. “I watched a couple of her videos out of curiosity, but it’s not something I stay up on,” he admits. “It’s a liability, maybe. But to me the benefit is, I have my own idea happening in my head and then I just try to figure out how to put the pieces so that what’s in my head happens in front of the camera.”
Selena was “psyched” about the non-heteronormative concept.
After Peretz suggested the love triangle — which got a little more complicated (and square) with four characters — as the center of the video, Gomez brought on the idea that somewhere within it would be lesbian attraction. “She just was psyched on it,” he explains. “To me, it just feels like it gives me another reason to do it, the idea that just acknowledging that it’s not just a bunch of heterosexuals out there in the world.”
Selena looked amazing in the mom wig.
Although there were four players in the “love square,” the mom character was the least central of the complicated web, and as Peretz puts it, “more a victim of it.” Because of this, Peretz says he was sort of the least interested in that character — that is, until Gomez put on that perfectly coiffed brunette wig.
“As soon as she showed up on set with her hairdo like that, and the clothes, I was like, [sighs],” he says. “That was the only thing that I was bummed at myself about, that I hadn’t left more time for that character. I actually thought she was amazing in that character, and her look actually became my favorite character to photograph.”
The high school they shot in was used in the ‘80s classic Heathers.
With visuals of classics like Dazed & Confused, Over the Edge and To Die For inspiring the look of the video (and enlisting Dazed & Confused costume designer Kari Perkins to dress the characters), Peretz had everything in place for his old-school feel, down to the filming location. “The school that we shot in, Heathers was shot there — so many movies have been shot in it. I think they’ve purposely really held onto their period feel to keep it nice and clean, but it definitely looks like the nostalgic version of a school compared to most schools that you go into these days.”
Selena wasn’t a diva.
Peretz figured it’d be a breeze to work with Gomez, as he thought she was “totally sweet” after the few interactions he had with her prior to filming. But once he actually got to be her director, he realized how down to earth she is despite one of the biggest pop stars today. “It was a real trip to see how to be working with someone who’s such a huge star in that social media space. Realizing there are all these elements of protection and privacy and stuff that I totally understood — once we got into it — why it was so necessary.
“It’s funny, at the same time, because Selena could not be a more genuine character,” he continues. “She’s just a sweetheart, she just seems like a regular girl, she’s so nice to everyone. It’s funny, because she doesn’t carry any of the air of someone who has that much attention to her each and every move.”