7 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Video (Exclusive)

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Thank U, Hannah Lux Davis!

For Ariana Grande's latest music video for her new song "Thank U, Next," the 25-year-old pop diva turned to Davis, Grande's frequent collaborator, to bring her vision to life. What they created together is a flawless homage to four iconic, female-lead romcoms with loving care and impressive attention to detail that serves as a perfect visual companion to Grande's hit song.

Recently, ET's Deidre Behar sat down with Davis, and the seasoned music video director opened up about their mash-up tribute to Mean Girls, Bring It On, 13 Going on 30 and Legally Blonde.

Here's a look at seven behind-the-scenes secrets from the set of the "Thank U, Next" music video revealing how it all came together.

1. Bringing the "Thank U, Next" Burn Book Together

After a brief intro, the music video kicks off with an amazing reference to the "Burn Book" featured in Mean Girls. However, for Grande, the "Thank U, Next" book -- words that adorn its cover in cut-out letters, ransom note-style -- the book features numerous pages and photos dedicated to some of the singer's famous exes, mirroring the song's lyrics.

Unlike the infamous Burn Book, however, the "Thank U, Next" book (like the song itself) never insults any of the people mentioned in it -- including exes Ricky Alvarez and former fiance Pete Davidson. According to Davis, that was their intent from the beginning.

"It was actually quite easy and really fast," Davis said of making the book. "From the jump on the video, we didn't want anything negative. Everything had to be positive and grateful and really what the song is about so we wanted to make sure that even with the Burn Book, it wasn't a Burn Book."

"Going into it with that intention really set the stage [for questions like], 'What's going to be written in there? What would you write?' Positive things. Like, 'Thank you for this, you were awesome,'" Davis continued. "She definitely made it personal to her and that's again why I feel like everybody is connecting with it."

Davis -- who has worked with Grande several times in the past on her music videos, including "Breathin," "Side to Side," "Into You" and "Bang Bang" -- revealed that Grande also wrote everything in the book herself, not leaving its creation to a production designer.

Even the "HUUUUUUGE" below a defaced photo of herself and Davidson, in reference to a very revealing (and since-deleted) tweet regarding her former flame's anatomy, was "totally" her idea.

"From the get-go, I think at that first production meeting when we were at her house after looking at location photos, she was like, 'Ohhh, what if we wrote HUUUUUUGE and then it just cut off?' We were all like, 'YES!'" Davis recalled. "She's really smart. She's really funny."

2. Some Celebrity Cameos Came Together at the Last Minute

Davis revealed that a few of the music video's biggest cameos -- including Kris Jenner as the Mean Girls-inspired mom and Jennifer Coolidge reprising her Legally Blonde role -- were secured just days before shooting and through Instagram DMs.

"When you're Ariana Grande, you can get just about anybody to open that DM or somebody to answer that call," Davis said, adding that they decided to reach out to Jenner "like four days before the shoot."

"It was all very very fast. We were talking about cameos and we were like, 'Oh my God! We have to get Kris Jenner!' [Ariana] was the one really steering that."

And once they got Jenner, Davis said she fit in perfectly.

"Kris Jenner is a pro. She knows what she's doing. She was fearless. She knew that this role was fun and you can't take yourself too seriously," Davis shared. "She knew what the deal was. She was like, 'This is a fun music video, I get it, like, let's have fun right now.' She was very much on board to be silly and not take herself too seriously. She got right into the role so fast, she was really great with improv."

3. Ariana Grande and Jennifer Coolidge Improv'd Their Whole Scene!

"I knew when we got Ariana and Jennifer together, that a lot of great comedy was going to pour out because Ariana is really funny, she's a funny girl, and she's smart and witty," Davis gushed. "We just gave them talking points in terms of what they'd be discussing at the nail salon."

Which means, aside from a general outline, Grande was able to hold her own when it came to improvising a scene with Coolidge, a seasoned pro when it comes to that style of comedy.

"We had a conversation before the take and [we said], 'Let's make it about a funny breakup. It should have some humor obviously, but let's talk about some weird breakup story or weird date,' and we were just spit-balling," Davis recalled. "And Jennifer was like, 'OK I think I got it, I think I got it.' So we roll and we're all like [stunned]. It was just really fun."

4. The Scene That Didn't Make It Into the Video

"There was one scene I remember we wanted to do, and when we got down to the schedule, and being like, 'How much can we fit into a shooting day?' That's when things started to get cut, and it was the backstage moment before the Santa dance,"  Davis explained, referring to a part of the video's Mean Girls' segment. "I remember as a girl being like, 'Those lips! That lip gloss!' There was never enough. And her and I were very much on the same page, like, 'The lip gloss!' And even in my breakdown for the first AD of what was in the scene, I was like, 'Lip gloss!' And that one got cut, just because there was just no time in that shooting day."

5. All the Costumes Were New and Made for the Music Video

Despite how perfect all the wardrobe and costuming was, in terms of matching the movies the music video was referencing, Davis revealed that none of it was borrowed from the original productions.

"Nothing! Everything on Ariana was made specifically for her. Her stylist, Law [Roach], is obviously fantastic, and we had a really great stylist for our cast, Anne Marie. She made the cheerleading uniforms, and instead of it saying "Clovers," it said "Lovers" and "Thank U, Next" on the cheer uniforms," Davis said. "Everything on all the cast, anything on Jennifer [Coolidge] and everyone else, all original things."

One other costume that appeared in the music video was the wedding dress that had the internet buzzing. The video's teaser trailer showed a woman who appeared to be Grande wearing the dress, and given the singer's recent engagement, the ensemble had a lot of fans freaking out.

However, it's clear that in the music video, Grande's not the one wearing white -- although the resemblance that the bride (whose face is never seen) has to the songstress wasn't accidental. Davis explained that they were on the look-out for a look-alike.

"It was actually our office manager at London Alley, our production company. She looks like Ariana Grande, she has the same build and coloring. We were going to start the process of looking for an Ariana double, we were like, 'Ah, should we just try to find somebody?' And meanwhile, every day we walk into the office and we're looking at one. So we brought our office manager in."

6. The One Cameo They Wanted But Couldn't Get

While there was quite a bit of star power in the music video -- including Jenner, Coolidge, Mean Girls' Jonathan Bennett, Troye Sivan, and Grande's former Victorious co-star Elizabeth Gillies, among others -- there was one star on their wish list that they just couldn't secure.

"Warner, from Legally Blonde," Davis said, referring to actor Matt Davis. "He was unavailable. He was the only one."

The director also explained that they could have tried to reach out to everyone from each of the films' casts, but wanted to go a different direction. Which is why they cast Jenner as the mom from Mean Girls, which was a role originally played by Amy Poehler.

"Amy Poehler is a goddess and we obviously would've loved that, but we wanted to put an Ariana Grande spin on everything, a 2018 spin," Davis shared.

7. Davis and Grande Experienced Some Career Highlights During Production

"It was during the bend and snap dancing scene to the song when all of us lost it. I've never seen a cast get so enthusiastic and excited to be part of a scene," Davis said. "Something very special was happening before even bringing [the cast] to the set. So when we watched everybody do this bend and snap thing with Jennifer -- even the crew! I could feel the crew be like, 'This is insane! This is so surreal.' It felt really cool. I had this moment with Brian and Scott, Ariana's choreographers, and we just looked at each other like, 'Holy S**t! This is the most insane moment of my career, shooting this scene!'"

According to Davis, Grande was just as excited and wowed by the experience of recreating the beloved Legally Blonde moment as everyone else.

"Her and I were just standing there watching Jennifer, and it was cool being with her as she was starstruck by someone," Davis said. "And later, she was like, 'This is the coolest thing being a pop star has ever allowed me to do.' Bringing all these ideas and people together [from] her childhood. So that was really really cool."

For more on Grande's latest star-studded music video, check out the video below.


Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' BTS Video Reveals Another 'Legally Blonde' Scene Didn't Make the Cut

Ariana Grande Says She Wrote 'Thank U, Next' After a 'Pretty Rough Day in NYC'

Reese Witherspoon, Kris Jenner and More Celebs React to Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Video

Ariana Grande Writes Secret Messages to Her Famous Exes in 'Thank U, Next' Music Video

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