Josh Hutcherson’s first time directing a music video required filming two driving sequences, three locations and three underwater scenes in just two and a half days.
“Directing is definitely something that I am very locked into,” the “Hunger Games” star tells Variety. “Acting is something that I love and something that I don’t want to stop doing by any means… but I’m addicted; I love directing so much.”
Hutcherson is making his music video directorial debut with West Coast Massive and Brayton Bowman’s new EDM single “High and Low.” The video, which dropped this morning, follows lead actress Piper America as she navigates a crazy night out filled with shots, parties and electric dance scenes – all shot in reverse. A fan of EDM himself, Hutcherson says he relished the creative freedom that came with working on the video as he tried to bridge striking visuals with a more narrative story.
“As an actor you’re limited to only what you can do with your face and body…but as a director you can explore that creativity more,” Hutcherson says. “Being able to control all of the elements and what not as a director, it was much more satisfying and felt very much like real creative expression.”
Hutcherson says he was first drawn to the heavy house sound of the song, which inspired him to complete a full treatment for the video in one sitting. What resulted was a neon party montage filled with dance scenes, driving sequences and elaborate underwater shots that the director says were inspired by the colorful visuals of films like 1977’s “Suspiria.”
As for actual directing inspiration, he looked to Alt J’s music video for “Breezeblocks,” which is also told in reverse, Designer’s video for “Panda” and his own past experience directing the short film “Ape.” He says the most important lesson he learned during his first stint as a director was to accept that his initial ideas were going to have to change.
“It’s one thing in concept, and then in practice it’s one thing, and in edit it’s one thing,” Hutcherson says. “Allowing it to grow and evolve from the initial idea while still keeping true to what you want it to turn out into is something that I definitely learned from doing “Ape.”
This wasn’t Hutcherson’s first time on a music video set. In 2016, he played a dirt-faced, depressed superhero in the DJ Snake music video for “Middle,” alongside “Dope” star Kiersey Clemons. In the future, Hutcherson says he wants to focus on directing and is currently working on the script for a feature film adaptation of his short film “Ape,” which he hopes to direct next fall.
Watch the music video for “High & Low” below.