Fatboy Slim’s legendary Spike Jonze-directed video for ‘Weapon Of Choice’ turns 20 today so, here at Far Out HQ, we decided to revisit a masterpiece that is undeniably in the conversation for the greatest music video of all time.
Of course, the video needs no introduction. However, for any reader that somehow hasn’t seen the iconic piece of filmography, the clip consists of Fatboy Slim’s iconic track ‘Weapon Of Choice’ taking over Christopher Walken, immediately awakening him from a nap in an empty hotel lobby. Before you know it, the Hollywood leading man begins to dance and fly around the area in a frantic yet entirely groovy movement of expression.
The project originated, somewhat remarkably, after Walken approached Jonze in a request to film him dancing in a somewhat bizarre and wonderfully pure conversation. After witnessing his skills, Jonze’s mind was set whirling and he then suggested the actor for the role. It later transpired that Fatboy Slim had also been scheduled for a cameo in the video, replacing Walken in the harness shots, but the musician was unavailable that weekend because his wife was giving birth. Instead, they shot the video over just two days at Los Angeles’ Marriott Hotel before Christmas in 2000 and Walken stole the show.
In 2018, Jonze appeared on the Nine Club podcast and spoke at length about how the collaboration with Walken came about: “I had known he could dance somehow, I think I had seen him on Saturday Night Live or something and I also love making dance videos. I did a Fatboy Slim video for his record before for ‘Praise You’ and so I wanted to do dance again but I didn’t want to do lo-fi amateur dancing, I wanted to do a real dance production thing.”
Jonze then went on to speak about his casting methods for the video, and how Walken sprung to his mind from nowhere: “From years ago I remembered Christopher Walken from Saturday Night Live and I was like that would be amazing. So I talked to Norman Cook from Fatboy Slim and said ‘my idea is basically just filming Christopher Walken dancing’ and he was like ‘Sure if he’ll do it’.”
Focusing on the details, Jonze sourced inspiration for the filming location from his father who, it turns out, would stay at the Marriott by the airport when he would come to town. The director detailed how the mundane nature of some specific hotels – and the fantasy that comes along with it – manifested his imagination, explaining: “I remember watching Deerhunter with my Dad so I had that connection with Christopher Walken and my Dad, also when we’d drive on road trips he’d sing show tunes so somehow it all just made sense.”
Walken was more than happy to take part in the video due to his love of dance. The actor, who was 57 at the time, was offered what he considered a ‘last chance saloon’ opportunity by Jonze. With a passion for dance deep within his psyche, Walken was never going to turn down the chance to bring his skills to the mainstream – and boy did he take it.
Check out the video in all of it’s glory, below.