Express Yourself: The Making of Madonna's 20 Greatest Music Videos

The directors who worked alongside the MTV-era maverick tell their stories

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14. "Bedtime Story" (1995)

The genesis for this clip came when Madonna approached director Mark Romanek about helming the clip for the Erotica track "Bad Girl." When they met, Madonna brought a single piece of artwork for inspiration. "It was this very surreal, dark, kind of amber-colored, somewhat disturbing painting — and I didn't know Madonna, so I was really surprised that this was her taste in art," Romanek recalled on his Director's Label DVD. Madonna eventually had frequent collaborator David Fincher direct the "Bad Girl" clip, but when Romanek heard the pulsing, Björk-penned "Bedtime Story," he knew he had found a video vehicle to show off what he called "painterly surrealism." Romanek delved into the history of female surrealists, and the end result — which paid particular tribute to painters Carrington and the Remedios Varo — was launched with a splashy pajama party at New York's Webster Hall in the spring of 1995 and placed in the Museum of Modern Art's archives. That big launch was commensurate with its budget, thanks to the elaborate visual effects sprinkled throughout. "Bedtime Story" cost a reported $5 million in 1995 dollars, and remains one of the form's priciest offerings.

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