Richard Marx's new holiday video is a real Christmas miracle for fans of bizarre celebrity sightings. And it's the gift that keeps on giving, since it really requires multiple viewings to recognize all the random familiar faces goofily lip-synching to "Christmas Spirit"--from Richard's 1980s peers Rick Springfield, Olivia Newton-John, and Kenny Loggins, to TV chef Rachael Ray, to "American Idol's" Chris Daughtry and magic man David Copperfield. (Wow, with friends like that, Richard must throw some really interesting holiday parties.)
Watch the video's premiere and see who else you can spot--including one major A-list thespian--and check out the Richard Marx Q&A below to find out just how this fun clip came together:
Who did you call first to appear in this video?
"My first call was to my lifelong best friend, Fee Waybill, of the Tubes, who co-wrote the song with me. He loved the idea and did the first lip-synch. After him was a brand-new person in my life, Rick Hoffman. Rick stars on the USA series 'Suits,' which my wife and I love, especially his character. Rick and I somehow conversed on Twitter and then got in touch with each other right before I decided to do this video. I was dying to ask him to be in it but felt it wasn't cool to ask him, having never actually met the guy--but I went for it anyway. Not only did he want to be in it, he corralled his co-stars Sarah Rafferty and Meghan Markle to be in the shot with him. He NAILED it."
Did you choose which of your friends you wanted to sing different parts in the song?
"Yeah, I had already mapped out in advance who I wanted to sing the various lines. I still have the lyric sheet with names next to each line. But I also wanted some non-celeb friends and my family in it, and I REALLY wanted fans from around the world, too. So we sent some emails out, and people were SO great about shooting clips of themselves in front of world landmarks: Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Kremlin, Sydney Harbor. It's crazy."
Were there any of your friends that said no to participating?
"There was literally one person...ONE...who's a big rock star and a great guy...who said, 'Of course! I'll film it today before I leave for Russia on tour,' and then never did it. But he's a busy guy and I love him anyway--and no, I won't tell you who it is. And no, it's not Bono. I don't even know him."
Why did you decide to film a video this way for this song?
"Not even sure. I really want people to hear this song because I'm proud of it, and I didn't want to do some sappy, touchy-feely video. Originally I thought about doing a 'Bad Santa' clip with me as a drunken department store Santa. But then I thought about some clips I've seen where people other than the artist are singing the words, and decided to try this. It's certainly not an original idea. Several people have done clips like this before. This is a song that makes me happy when I hear it--even though the lyric is actually REALLY sad. Fee Waybill wrote this lyric and my music is so uplifting and bouncy, so it's such a dichotomous chasm. I wanted the video to be a big goof."
What was the editing process like? How were you able to get all this footage from everybody?
"Everybody shot their clips on an iPhone or a Flip, except for David Copperfield, who does EVERYTHING full-on: lighting, HD camera. I think Spielberg shot David's clip, actually. As I started getting people's clips in my email inbox, I would drop them into iMovie and line them up, using stock photos for the lines I didn't have yet. Once I had the bulk of the video done, I gave all the raw footage as well as my very junior varsity iMovie edit to Bill Berg-Hillinger, who's a masterful editor and director. He put all the animation in and made the edits work so much better."
Tell us about your new holiday album, Christmas Spirit.
"The coolest thing about it for me is that we recorded it live. As in, like...REALLY live. Rhythm section in isolation booths, orchestra in the huge studio, and me in a vocal booth, and we all performed each song together live. Nobody does that anymore. It was such a thrill. The album is mostly classic Christmas songs but with two originals I co-wrote, and my sons are singing backgrounds on much of it. There's a couple duets. I got to sing with Kenny Loggins on one, who's an old friend and was a HUGE influence on my singing when I was starting out. This whole record was a blast to make."
Backstreet Boys' new Christmas song