You can see the entire performance in the video below. It was shot in an empty (and giant) parking lot in downtown Los Angeles, with 20 vintage Mercedes Benz SL of the R107 generation, in white and red, and what looks like a Mercury convertible for the singer, as well as four white semi trucks. Directors Alex Lill and Charlie Morse tell Billboard that the plan was for The Weeknd to start performing in the middle of the lot, but that was deemed not “exhilarating” enough, so they placed him in the back seat holding on to a strap for safety.
Meanwhile, the vehicles in the back did “car choreography” inspired by 1950s synchronized swimmers. At one point, The Weeknd got out of the car and started walking, which is when all those vehicles, including the semis, would rush by him and speed out of the frame. The performance ended with a gorgeous aerial shot of all the vehicles doing another synchronized number, driving in circles around the artist.
It was all very car-tastic.
It was also quite dangerous, with the directors admitting that it “took a lot of trust” to pull this off. A 21-person stunt team was brought in, including stunt coordinator Charles Grisham (whose credits include Jackass, Twilight, and The Dark Knight Rises). The biggest challenge was for producer Brendan Garrett, who had to source 20 identical cars when no movie studio had such a high number of them to lend.
They ended up sourcing each one individually, and the stunt drivers trained for 8-hour days ahead of the performance. It was not an easy performance to put together: because the vintage cars would “break down like flies,” they had a NASCAR mechanic on set to ensure a quick fix.
The idea was not to do a Fast and Furious-type of stunt, the directors say, but rather to convey an image of “synchronicity and elegance.” Mission accomplished, right?