The Actress Turned Director Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Her Video for The Last Goodbye
An old-school photo booth inspired the set for Samantha Morton’s debut music video, celebrating The Kills’ 10th anniversary single “The Last Goodbye,” as seen in these candid photographs by Ben Crook. Morton, who completed her directorial first feature The Unloved last year, has been a fan of the duo for years. After being sent a live performance of the track, Morton prepared a treatment referencing an Allen Ginsberg book, the works of Robbie Miller, Jack Clayton’s The Innocents, and photo booths. "I miss the quality of a 'real' photo booth—nowadays everything is so cheap and quick,” says the star of such films as Minority Report and Control. “The track felt incredibly nostalgic; the same way I feel about the machines." Unbeknown to Morton, the photo booth is central to band members Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince's ten-year partnership: the pair seek out the devices when on tour to record their travels. But Morton managed to renew the experience: "Samantha has this crazy way of inviting you into a fantasy world where you don't feel stupid or awkward," he says. "She had dramatic classical music that she'd play instead of our track. It made you perform completely differently. There's a beauty and magic in it that I could never have imagined." Before a special screening party with The Kills at The W hotel in London to celebrate the premiere of the video Morton revealed her nostalgia for photo booths and love of monochrome.
Where did the photo booth idea come from?
I liked photo booths and I missed them. I love the fact that when you used to go to a photo booth, sometimes you used to have wait a good 20 minutes. Sometimes, I remember, if they were really crap, you'd have to wait forever. You'd go off for a cup of tea and you'd come back to get your passport pictures. Also, it was quite expensive when we were young. It was a real treat. Now, it's still expensive, but you just get these horrible images of yourself that won't last in the same way. The song was incredibly nostalgic and I think that made me feel nostalgic.
Did you know that you wanted to do it in black and white?
Very much. The film reference has be The Innocents by Jack Clayton. Black and white films are incredibly atmospheric and also very stylized. I was thinking maybe above my station. We had one day but I wanted to make it look like an epic film.
Do you remember your first experience of listening to The Kills?
I do. I watched them on Later with Jools Holland [British live music TV show] when I was at home, wishing I had a better life. Wishing I was there. It was years ago now and they just blew my mind.
What do you like about them as a band?
I don't really like anything. I don't really like the word “like.” I love them. I think “like” is a wet word. I love their music. They'll be times when I really have to listen to them. They work for me.
Does music inspire your work?
Yeah, I can't work without music. I can't live without music. I think music is a great healer and a great inspiration. On a very deep subconscious level, rhythm is everywhere, whether it's the constant rhythm of our heartbeat to listening to nature to the blood flow in our ears. You can't avoid it. You just have to embrace it. That's why sometimes I hate music out there.