Aimee Mann explores the fragility of friendship in her all-star video for “Patient Zero,” a track from her upcoming album Mental Illness. The clip, directed by Daniel Ralston, stars actors James Urbaniak and Bradley Whitford in a bittersweet plot set in and around a fictional theatrical production called “The Hermit.” The story is loosely based on Ronald Harwood’s 1980 Broadway play The Dresser.
Mann appears in a brief cameo, alongside comedian Tim Heidecker, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and actor Rich Sommer.
Ralston told NPR that he aimed to channel Mann’s lyrical themes of “Hollywood disappointment” with the intimate video, which focuses on the relationship between the play’s dresser (Urbaniak) and its star (Whitford). “The two men become friends,” he says. “The dresser is given a gift; their friendship ends. It’s about being able to let go of the things we want but can’t have.”
Mann’s lush song features on Mental Illness, her ninth LP, which she described as the “saddest, slowest, most acoustic, if-they’re-all-waltzes-so-be-it-record” she could possibly write. She will promote the album with a North American tour launching April 20th in Washington D.C.