B's team talked to ELLE.com about how they kept the visual album under lock & key, until its surprise release, Friday, December 13, 2013.
“Well, people knew things were going on,” admitted Beyoncé’s fashion director and confidante of over 15 years, Ty Hunter, who was charged with overseeing the 17 music videos, all shot as Beyoncé traveled the globe on her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. “But the thing is, we’re such a tight-knit family.”
The sheer scope of the project, with videos being shot over this past year, from such far flung places as Australia, Brazil, France to the US, still remains baffling to Hunter. “When you finally see the final project, you’re just like ‘I can’t believe we survived it,’" he says. “We were able to pull this off which is unheard of. It’s just a celebration for the whole team.”
According to Hunter, the project has been in the works for nearly two years. But the first video—the bonus cut “Grown Woman”—was shot approximately one year ago. For him, the project was most stressful not only because he had to curate Beyoncé’s looks for 17 videos, but also because the clothes he hand-selected with Beyoncé, and then ordered by phone, often had to be sent overseas on a moment’s notice. “I’d have it sent and pray that the pieces and the packages would be received by different hotels in other countries,” he explained, adding that he felt “blessed” to have five premier stylists—B. Akerlund, Lysa Cooper, Marni Senofonte, Karen Langley, and Raquel Smith—assisting him.People had to sign confidentiality agreements:
Those on set at the video shoots were, for the most part, asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. Model Shaun Ross, who appears in the “Pretty Hurts” video, and calls the singer “an aunt… that I never see because she’s always busy,” says he didn’t have to sign one because he knows better. “You had to put your phone away,” he recalled, adding, “Beyoncé has always been this person who is super-secretive with the things that she does, as far as with her camp and her family. They’re also very secretive and very intuitive with her vision and keeping things under wraps.”Famed director, Jonas Akerlund talks about first speaking to B and directing:
Jonas Akerlund, director and husband of B.—who directed the videos for “Haunted” and “Superpower,” which featured a cameo from Pharrell Williams and reunited the members of Destiny’s Child—first learned about the project in May when Beyoncé invited the Swedish filmmaker to her Mrs. Carter show in Stockholm.
“We listened to some of these songs already back then. And then we started to talk about different ideas,” he revealed. As timing would have it, Akerlund was one of the first directors to meet with the singer, but come September, was the last to shoot his videos.
“So actually at the very end of it [Beyoncé’s team] were all waiting for my videos to be finished,” he says with a laugh. How soon before the album release did Akerlund turn in his finished videos?
“Maybe 24 hours,” the director admitted. Keeping the project under wraps was “business as usual” for Akerlund. Still, the filmmaker, who has worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to Madonna and The Rolling Stones, was impressed that everyone in involved stayed mum. “The fact that she managed to do 17 videos and the music and have it all ready, it’s just proof that everybody that works for her truly believes in what she does,” he said. “Everybody that works for Beyoncé really loves her.”You can read the rest of the article at ELLE.com.
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