Wondereing how Billie Eilish walked on the walls and crawled on the ceiling while performing her No. 1-reigning “Bad Guy” during her Saturday Night Live debut last weekend? She has all the answers for curious fans in a new “Creating Saturday Night Live” video posted today (Oct. 1).
The dizzying, gravity-defying stunt was inspired by a scene from Royal Wedding (1951) when actor Fred Astaire walked all around the walls and ceiling of a room.
“Once we had the idea kind of locked in, the only way I could understand it visually and have everyone else understand the timing of it… I took a tissue box, and I wrote ‘floor’ ‘ceiling’ and ‘right wall’ ‘left wall,’ and I put it on my carpet in my living room and we played the song,” Eilish explains in the clip.
Her demo was an avant-garde home movie featuring her mom taking two Russian dolls subbing in for her brother and guitarist Finneasand drummer Andrew Marshall, while Eilish used her long fingernails to represent herself on stage. She talked through the animated performance, deciding what parts of the song would be cues for the room to turn on itself.
As excited as they were, the SNL production crew members did not have an easy task on their hands. The feat required “more rehearsal time than any other thing we’ve done,” according to the “Bad Guy” songbird, and an entirely recreated SNL performance area that could rotate while the camera remained attached to it, giving off the deceit the room remained still the whole time.
“A big difficulty is I have two sprained ankles, so I have a boot and a brace for the other one,” she says in the clip. “So figuring out how to be safe and be able to walk and do all the stuff with a boot on.”
Check out the full explainer on the “disorienting” display below.