August 27, 2011 by Scott Finley
Gagaism.org is proud to bring you this special interview with the mastermind behind the viral fan video to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bloody Mary.’ Read on to unlock the video’s mysteries and see exclusive behind-the-scenes pics!
By Scott Finley
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This article has been re-published with our permission in the Fall 2011 issue of IN Magazine!
In just two weeks, ‘Bloody Mary’ has racked up over 650,000 views on YouTube. (Update: Now over 7 million!) This is quite a feat, even by viral video standards. Today, Gagaism.org is proud to reveal our exclusive three-page interview with the very talented Ruben Cortez. Past the cut, you can read about the cast and crew of ‘Bloody Mary,’ the inspiration and meaning behind the video, and much more, including exclusive behind-the-scenes photos!
Scott: First of all, congratulations on reaching nearly one-half million views on your ‘Bloody Mary’ video after only a week! (Over 650,000 now, after two weeks.) That is quite an accomplishment.
Ruben Cortez: Thank you so much! It’s more like a dream come true! I definitely feel accomplished.
Scott: Are you surprised at how popular and well-received your video has been so far?
RC: The term surprised does not even cover it. It’s more like shocked! I mean, you expect your family and friends to butter you up and tell you your video was nice, and I really thought that was the most it would ever get. You can just imagine my face when the view count on YouTube started going crazy. I just couldn’t believe it. Not to mention all the wonderful comments people have been leaving. It really still blows my mind just thinking about it.
When I was uploading the video to YouTube I was already preparing myself for a wide range of negative comments. Then I remember the first two days all the people who worked on the video would call me about every hour just to tell me how many views it was getting and to read back comments to me. It was insane! I just didn’t want people to think I meddled with one of Gaga’s songs and portrayed it wrong, and I am very happy people received it well.
Scott: Tell us a bit about the concept for the video and how it relates to the song.
RC: The concept of the video is based around a tale of revenge.
When I first listened to the song, I interpreted the lyrics to be the representation of a mourning woman who is having trouble accepting losing something dear to her heart, and I couldn’t help but feel as though a malicious ghost was singing the song, especially with the arrangement of the vocals.
I pictured a tortured spirit wandering a castle, singing of her demise for so long that it has led her into a sort of insanity. A soul that was once pure, now led down a dark path in the afterlife. So I created a story for this tortured ghost, in which she was once a Queen that ruled happily with her King.
Until one day, the bitter sister of the Queen murders both rulers to gain control of the throne. Time goes by and the new Queen rules her kingdom satisfied and alone. Until the mourning ghost of her sister comes back to haunt her, and the tortured soul makes it clear that she wants her kingdom back.
Scott: What, in particular, made you choose the song ‘Bloody Mary’ for your project?
RC: I am a big horror buff, so anything that has to do with the supernatural just immediately grabs my attention, and this song just had supernatural written all over it.
I was initially going to do a short horror film for my final project, but I was very torn due to the fact that I wanted to make a music video as well. I thought to myself “I need to find a song that will incorporate both together.” Then as soon as I listened to Bloody Mary I knew it was the perfect song. It just takes you on an eerie journey into a lost tale. It feels like you’ve traveled to a lost era in a fantasy world, and I was really enjoying that.
Scott: The video seems heavily inspired by your video for ‘So Happy I Could Die.’ Are the two videos meant to be directly related?
RC: Bloody Mary pays a great deal of homage to So Happy I Could Die. Two completely different stories, but they share similar styles and structures. The reason is that we wanted to show everyone how far we had come from the SHICD video, which was filmed exactly a year before Bloody Mary.
When we shot SHICD, we basically just jumped into the deep end. It was our first time staging something that big and as much as we love that video, there was a-lot of things we wished we knew going into the project. There was a-lot of “on set learning” which left us with an unsatisfied desire to do certain things differently.
Bloody Mary gave everyone that opportunity. Everyone picked up their game, brought in all their knowledge that they had gained in the past year, and put it to the test. We were given a second chance at perfecting a craft we started a year ago, and oh man, did everyone show their growth!