As 2011 comes to a close, EW.com wanted to honor some of the hardworking names and faces from behind the scenes for their outstanding achievements. It was a massive year for Katy Perry, and Floria Sigismondi (who has directed iconic videos for Christina Aguilera and Marilyn Manson, as well as 2010’s The Runaways) was no small part of that success. Helming “E.T.” and “The One That Got Away,” two of Perry’s most evocative videos, Sigismondi discussed how she stepped away from Perry’s candy-coated style and see the finished product. For more behind the scenes access to the year’s best TV and movie scenes, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2011: Behind the Scenes coverage.
As told by: Floria Sigismondi
Normally I get the songs and just live with them for three days to a week and kind of let the concept shape itself. I get inspired by the lyrics and can hopefully bring another layer to the story. I try not to be affected by [an artist’s] previous work. I don’t study [other videos of theirs]. I always think that somebody’s coming to me because of something I bring to the table and because I can open up a different view of the artist. Once I have images that I’m ready to put on paper, that’s the biggest challenge as an artist – to get what’s in my mind out into reality.
On “E.T.,” I was a little bit skeptical that an artist of Katy’s stature would be an alien, but she was so up for anything, which was fantastic. Half the video is her in alien form and how she is shape-shifting from an alien to a human as she gets closer to earth to save humanity through this kiss. Then she gets her signals crossed, and there’s a little bit of animal lust [shown by] her fawn legs. It’s a very interesting extraterrestrial love story, but it paints a bigger picture about humanity and what happens on earth.
There’s a bit of a Barbarella influence at the end there. She’s kind of a sexual goddess. She has intentions to save the world, and she’s a very strong character, but she has a lot of passion that you can see in her eyes. Hopefully they go off and create a new kind of being that inhabits the earth.
NEXT: Sigismondi on the indie vibe of “The One That Got Away”