Super Bowl Halftime Director on Working With Katy Perry: "She Is Running Her Shit"

AP Images

Hamish Hamilton, who has helmed every halftime show since 2010, also spills secrets on working with Beyonce, Madonna and Bruno Mars.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Blackpool, England-born Hamish Hamilton has helmed every Super Bowl halftime show since 2010 -- along with the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics and several Academy Awards telecasts (2014's Oscars just landed him a DGA nomination). He talked to THR about what it's like to steer the cameras -- and the stars -- for the year's most-watched event.

When you approach an artist to do the Super Bowl, they will 99.9 percent say yes, but there are very few artists in the world who can do it. Led by producer Ricky Kirshner (the focused calm in all the storm), we usually start with 10 or 15 names; a lot of them get whittled away quite quickly because while they are amazing, they are not Super Bowl amazing. Once a decision is made, things start to gather speed, traditionally in the summer.

I'd worked with Beyonce a lot over the years, going back to Destiny's Child, so I knew what a wonderful experience I was in for when she signed on. Her attention to detail...she could direct the Super Bowl better than I do. I had never worked much with Bruno [Mars], so that was a voyage of discovery. He and I had some heated discussions about lots of things -- particularly about the way things were shot. It was passionately playful. The year before that, spending a couple of weeks in the company of Madonna, watching her put together her show, amazing! Watching her do "Vogue," I can't believe I was there.

This year's Katy Perry performance is large, it's spectacular, it's cheeky, it's uniquely Katy. Having been through this process with six other artists, I can say she's in a good place. I've never seen her work this hard, be this engaged, be this connected. She is running her shit. It's a beautiful thing. The pressure is there. I just think, "Whoa, this is amazing. Unf--ingbelievable." I also think, "You know what? I would rather be here dealing with this pressure than watching it on TV and thinking, 'God, I want to work on the Super Bowl.'"