If the comical, puppet-laden music video for Imagine Dragons breakout hit “Radioactive” featuring actor Lou Diamond Phillips came as something of a surprise for the intense tune, that reaction was exactly the band’s intention.
“We got probably a hundred (video) treatments from different directors. We sifted through them and a lot of them were sort of what you’d expect for a video like that,” explained the band’s guitarist Wayne Sermon during an exclusive interview with Radio.com. “Gas masks, tanks, a post-apocalyptic world and all that stuff. We sort of wanted to do something different. Being fans of Foo Fighters and a lot of their videos, they don’t take themselves all too seriously. We kind of wanted to follow that vein. We feel like it still captured the intensity of the song, but in a way that’s sort of different.”
Indeed, as the surreal clip features Lou Diamond Phillips presiding over an underground puppet-fighting ring that’s challenged by a young girl and her unassuming pink teddy bear.
“Lou Diamond Phillips was amazing and he was hilarious. He actually reached out to us. I guess his daughters were fans, and he became a fan that way,” Sermon said of the fortuitous casting. “He reached out and said, ‘hey, if you guys are doing a video, you know, I’d love to be a part of it.’ We were like, ‘Okay get on a plane right now, we’ll make a role for you.’”
“I think he had to fly out by Southwest, you know, like red eye,” injected the band’s bassist, Ben McKee.
“He roughed it, yeah,” Sermon laughed. “He wanted to be a part of it, and I think he did a great job.”
“He’s a total riot. He kept singing Neil Diamond songs and saying it was Diamond does Diamond,” added drummer Daniel Platzman. “He did a lot of impersonations. He was basically making everyone laugh anytime the cameras weren’t rolling. He’s a blast.”
“There’s something maybe about our music that kind of…I don’t know why,” Sermon tried to explain regarding the grandiosity of Imagine Dragons’ music. “The title of the album is Night Visions, we wrote a lot of songs during the wee hours of the night. There’s a certain epicness to that mood,” he added. “I think that plays a part in it.”