Bruno Mars doubles as a seedy strip-club singer in his just-released video for “Gorilla” – a track off his latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox – which he premiered via his Facebook page. He co-directed the clip, which stars Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and features Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights), with his past collaborator Cameron Duddy (“Locked Out of Heaven“).
The dramatically charged clip opens with two women speaking in Spanish while applying lipstick backstage at a gentleman’s club called La Jungla. It seems a new woman has been fooling around with another’s man (Mr. Mars), and it ends with one of the women declaring, “Wait ’til I tell the boss who she’s sleeping with.” Then it’s revealed that the woman, Isabella (played by Pinto), has been listening in – and it’s her time to dance.
After an introduction by Guzmán, Mars kicks things into gear and Isabella begins pulling off some gravity-defying spins on the pole. As his band bangs out some mid-tempo steamy soft-rock piano stabs, Mars mugs at her intensely, singing “You and me baby making love like gorillas,” as she disrobes and sparks fall from the ceiling. Then it cuts to the two of them heating up the backseat of a car, intercut with shots of her grinding on customers. There’s a moment about mid-song when Mars sings, “In this jungle, you can’t run,” which metaphorically explains the name of the strip club in a “Hotel California,” “you can never leave” sort of context, but it also serves as an invitation for her eventually to drop to her knees and lick (wait for it) his guitar. She takes it from him and lights it on fire à la Hendrix, and it’s pretty much all over for everyone after that, leading to an anthropomorphic chase scene.
The song was released as a single on September 10, following Mars’ performance of it at the VMAs, and it peaked at No. 26 on the Hot 100. Unorthodox Jukebox was Mars’ first No. 1 album, and it is currently back in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200.