After cries of pedeophilia arose surrounding Sia’s “Elastic Heart” music video, the Australian singer remained relatively calm about the entire thing, apologizing for any triggering aspects and explaining via Twitter that the video’s stars, Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler, were meant to represent “two warring ‘Sia’ self states.” The uproar eventually died down as it typically does when there are more urgent matters like Kardashian sightings and celebrity engagements to attend to, but now, Sia and the rest of the video’s creators (LaBeouf, Ziegler, choreographer Ryan Heffington, and co-director Erik Anders Lang) have added their take into the mix in a new behind-the-scenes video.
After the success of “Chandelier,” Sia decided to create a trilogy of music videos featuring Ziegler, who she discovered while watching Dance Moms. Heffington had previously worked with Shia on Sigur Rós’ “Fjögur píanó” and introduced him to the Australian singer/songwriter. “We sat in a coffee shop and she basically walked me through what her trilogy idea is and I was walking her through my auxiliary art stuff was and who my influences were,” says Shia. And so the idea was born. “We thought it would be interesting if he’s working with Maddie as if she is one of his self states—maybe an inner child, or one of his demons, or that we switch between her representing some of his self states,” says Sia. Adds Heffington, “Essentially, I see them as the same person and the cage is kind of the skull—you beat yourself up, you’re loving to yourself...” (Please note: The complete lack of any ill intentions. Also note that Ziegler says she was playing a wolf in the video: “I mean, I growl like 20 times in this dance.”)
“I also believe in the healing power of art,” says Shia. “Her work is very cathartic; you listen to the album, it’s just like reading a diary. And all of my work, especially for the past five years, has just been my soul bared on film... I feel like being here to make art is some sort of redemptive thing for myself and for me. I mean, it’s completely selfish. I’m here all for selfish reasons. I don’t care if nobody ever sees the video; it’s a completely cathartic thing being here.” With almost 66.5 million views on the official YouTube video alone, it’s something that Shia and Sia don’t have to worry about. Still, it’s a nice sentiment.