Director Antoine Fuqua: "Prince Was a King" (Guest Column)

Antoine Fuqua and Prince- H 2016
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The 'Training Day' helmer directed the late singer in his 1995 music video "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World."

I did “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World“ video for him. It was the only opportunity I got to work with him. It was a great experience. It was like a dream in more than one way, because Prince was very mysterious. This was ’95. At that time, he was separating himself from his label, that sort of structure. He called me and wanted me to do a video for him. It wasn’t the normal process where you go through the record label and all the managers. He was very hands-on. He flew me down to Paisley Park, and I walked into Paisley Park, and there were women everywhere. Walking into this huge space, I was trying to figure out what they were all doing. There were these long, beautiful steps, and I see someone in a red outfit coming down the steps toward me, and it was like something in a Fellini movie. He said, “Hey, Antoine, I’m Prince.” How cool is that? So we spent the day together, talking about the concept and the video. I realized that in the song he was singing was about young women of any color, shape, size, who could become anything they wanted to be in the world. And that’s why all those women were there. He was already in that headspace.

By the time I got there, he was already ready to go. When he came down the steps, he said, “Are you ready?” I said, “I’m always ready.” He said, “Let’s get started.” I said, “My crew’s not even here yet. I don’t even have a camera.” He had his own soundstage there, that he showed me. So I said, “Let me get my crew and we can get organized and tomorrow, we can get started early.” So we just hung out all day and had a great time together. He was just a regular, very cool guy.
He put me up in this beautiful bed-and-breakfast place. About two in the morning, the phone rang. The voice on the phone goes, “What're you doing?” I said, “Who is this?” He said, “Antoine, it’s Prince. You ready?” So, I said, “All right, let me wake up everybody.” So I jumped out of bed, called my DP Giogio Scali, we got our guys together and went to Paisley Park — it was two or three in the morning — and just got going. It was an amazing experience. It was just sort of happening. It was a good time.
Today, when I heard the news, I was driving my car. They said a man had been found at Paisley Park and it could be Prince. I prayed it was not, but I thought we’d probably have to wait around for a week before he pops up to let us know it’s not him. Because he was mysterious. He would just come and go, like an enigma. He’d come and light the world on fire with some music and some performances, and then, poof, gone. You wouldn’t see him for another few years. He was a true artist in every way. He did it all. Prince was a king.

— Antoine Fuqua, director of Training Day and the upcoming The Magnificent Seven, directed Prince’s 1995 video for the song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.”