Robert Pattinson recently finished filming the highly anticipated video for “Highway To Hell,” the first single off his upcoming album XXXXX, out April 23rd on his own record label and in partnership with Universal Music. The former Twilight star was recently interviewed by Digital Music News about the process of making the video, what we can expect from it, and more.
The Making of The ‘Highway To Hell’ Video
The “Highway To Hell” video was filmed in Los Angeles over the course of a few days. After spending some time on set, Robert Pattinson took a break and went into the office to work on his album. During that time, he answered some questions from fans via Instagram live. He took a while to answer all the questions, so make sure you check out the IG live for all the exciting details about the video.
We’ll be updating this article as more information becomes available, so check back soon!
What Type of Video Is It?
The song “Highway To Hell” is taken from the album XXXXX, which is a concept album inspired by a Jack London novella. The song was co-written with Jack White and Taylor Hawkins, who plays guitar in the band the Hell Drivers alongside Robert Pattinson and Jason Schwartzman. The video is set in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of the London novel, featuring White’s band the Hell Drivers and other bands that are featured on the album (namely, the Black Lips, Aussie band Bad Fratelli’s, and The Pretty Reckless).
While the novella took place in the early 1900s, the album version of the story is set in the year 2166. The video for “Highway To Hell” is set in the year 2166 as well. In the future, cars have become obsolete and are being replaced with megatrucks that travel across the country. It’s a dark, gritty, and highly stylized take on The Road Warrior, with heavy metal playing a major role in the narrative.
What Can We Expect From The Video?
Based on the novel and the song, we can expect a grittiness and an aggressiveness not usually seen in Robert Pattinson videos. “Highway To Hell” is a fast-paced rock number with a strong metal influence, so the video will most likely showcase a lot of headbanging, crowd moshing, and other such behavior that comes with thrash music. The video will also prominently feature the album’s cover art, which was designed by the artist Shepard Fairey. The cover of XXXXX, which is also the cover of the album’s first pressing, features a graphic of a haloed man wearing a crown, holding a set of opened wings above his head. The graphic has become a social media star and was even featured on a T-shirt sold at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza last year.
In a press release, Robert Pattinson described the video as “an experiment” and stated, “I felt that the video should have the same aggressive vibe as the song itself – a charge that I think a majority of the world is pretty ready for!”
Keyboardist For Hails
While guitarists White and Taylor Hawkins are major players in the “Highway To Hell” video, it is actually the keyboard work of Dan Kelly that really drives the song. Kelly was the keyboardist for the American rock band Hails, whose sound has been compared to that of Queen and Led Zeppelin. Their music can be heard in the Netflix series Green Lantern and this year’s Toy Story 4. The rock band the Black Lips covered Hails’ song “Bones” for their album Peyote Garden Party.
Kelly also collaborates with pop artists Max Martin and Shellback on the songs “Let Me Love You” and “Stay With Me Tonight,” respectively, from Martin’s self-titled debut album.
The Making Of The Video
The “Highway To Hell” video was directed by Tim Wheeler, who recently shot the video for Martin’s “Let Me Love You.” The director worked with the star on the film adaptation of The Rover, which began filming last October and is now finished. Wheeler’s previous works include directing the music videos for Fall Out Boy and Black Veil Brides.
Wheeler first worked with Robert Pattinson on the drama Remember Me. The pair then went on to collaborate on a short film that was shot in Germany in 2016. In that film, we follow the misadventures of a young man and his search for love. The video was premiered at the Cannes Short Film Corner in May and had its U.S. premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in January.
Overall, Is The `Highway To Hell` Film Influenced By `The Road Warrior`?
Yes, the `Highway To Hell` video is definitely influenced by the adventures of Burt Reynolds’ character in The Road Warrior. As the director of the video noted in a press release, “The theme of the film and the song is to go where no man has gone before; to explore the uncharted frontiers of possibility. The `Highway To Hell` video reflects that spirit of adventure and experimentation.”
The song was inspired by an article that Reynolds wrote for Esquire in which he described a quest to find “the real American dream.” The story is set in the early 1900s, when Reynolds was touring the country in a motor car. He described how people would wave at his car as he drove past, which gave him the idea to write a story about a man trying to make his way in the world and how he would deal with any obstacle in his way. As Reynolds put it, “If you can dream it, you can do it – or at least try.”
The song and video are a celebration of that spirit and the power of dreaming big. We can’t help but compare Reynolds’ character to that of Arthur Dent from the classic novel The Road Warrior, but Reynolds is much more optimistic about the future. Despite the world seeming bleak at times, he saw a future for himself and his fellow motorist pioneers: “We’ll be driving to our destinations, hitting the open road, exploring new places, meeting new people, and breaking new ground; because that’s what makes life interesting.”