Melina Matsoukas sat down with Pitfork to discuss her work with Rihanna on the highly praised “We Found Love” music video. During her interview Melina discussed everything from how shocked she was by Rihanna’s good acting, to the text message she received from Rihanna while casting telling her to make sure the guy was hot because she plans on “Fake fuc*ing him all over the place.” Melina also weighed in on the whole Dudley O’sheaughnessy resembling Chris Brown issue.
On Rihanna’s Acting & Casting:
Pitchfork: I was pleasantly surprised by Rihanna’s acting in this video.
MM: She’s good, right? I was surprised, too. There’s a moment in the “Man Down” video when she’s about to be raped, and she gives this glance, and I remembered thinking, “Wow.” That gave me a hint. So I went for it with this treatment and she loved it. Then she texted me a couple days before the shoot when I’m in Belfast still trying to cast: “You better get me a hot guy because I love this treatment and I’m definitely fake fucking him all over the place.” [laughs] So I had to find her a guy that she was really attracted to because if she doesn’t like him, we’re fucked.
So it’s two days before the shoot and I call this boxer that my friend’s friend told me about and I’m like, “You have to tape yourself right now! Be that man we all want but we know we shouldn’t fuck with. Just smoke your cigarette and say everything really masculine and rough around the edges.” So he sends us this little thing off his iPhone, and it was perfect. And then he met Rihanna on set, and I’m like, “OK, you guys are just lost in love– go!” And he took her hand and they started running around and it was just magic. It felt so real. They didn’t have to do any of the face fucking until the third day [laughs], so that helped a little, too.
On Dudley & Chris Brown:
Pitchfork: For better or worse, Rihanna now is kind of haunted by her relationship with Chris Brown. Were you playing into that with this video?
MM: No. The intention is not for it to be Chris or anything related to that relationship. We all have gone through the kind of tumultuous relationship shown in the video. I didn’t even know that Chris Brown is blond right now. This dude was already blond. It’s not like I told him to dye his hair. He doesn’t even really look like Chris Brown to me.
On shooting the car scene:
Pitchfork: There’s a great shot when they’re arguing in the car and you can see Rihanna’s veins popping out of her neck. What were they shouting about?
MM: [laughs] She’s just mad as shit. I’m in the car with them, laying down in the back seat so no one could see me, and walking them through the fight. And I’m just like feeding her stuff. She looks really intense but she’s saying the most outlandish shit ever, like, “Dudley, you fucking tight-pant-wearing da da da,” just screaming. And then those veins popped out. It definitely tells that story– I wouldn’t want to get her mad.