Sean Penn directed 1 of Shania Twain’s first music videos
Early in her career, Shania Twain was a little-known country singer who was new to Nashville and trying to find her footing in the market. At a time when she received little support from her record label, the Canadian singer got a boost from an unlikely source: Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn.
Shania Twain’s debut wasn’t great
Shania Twain released her self-titled debut album in 1993. She admitted in her 2022 Netflix documentary Not just a girl and memory of 2011 From now on that she had very little creative input into the album, as her label gave her songs that they thought would check out some country music clubs and she only co-wrote one song on the album.
Twain’s debut single “What Made You Say That” sparked controversy upon its release because she dared to show her midriff in the video. The song peaked at number 55 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, leading the label to believe there was little gas left in its debut album.
Sean Penn wanted to work with Shania Twain to direct a music video
In his memoirs From now onTwain reflected on a career-changing moment after the release of “What Made You Say That.”
“I learned that actor Sean Penn was interested in directing my next music video,” she recalled. “I still don’t know how he heard about me. Maybe he was watching CMT at the time? I was glad he did, anyway. Frankly, I’m not sure that Mercury [Records] had planned a sequel to “What Made You Say That”, but having someone of Sean’s caliber interested in working with me might have spurred the label to take me more seriously and agree to fund the production. The timing was excellent and I felt like maybe I had a second chance with a follow-up single, after all.
Penn signed on to direct the music video for her second single, “Dance With the One That Brought You”.
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Twain enjoyed Penn as a partner
Twain went on to talk about what a lovely collaborator Penn was and how focused he was on making the music video successful.
“He was very cool and fun, direct with his ideas but easy going and open to my input,” she said. “He took the project very seriously, so before I knew it, I was in a movie studio in Los Angeles shooting the music video for ‘Dance with the One That Brought You’.”
“To be honest, the song, a mid-tempo number, wasn’t very strong, and I regret that Sean’s ability and enthusiasm was wasted on a track that I knew he would never have. a lot of commercial value, but the experience of working with him was amazing,” she continued. “He had cast famous actor Charles Durning to play the role of Charlie who has a good time and hangs out in two time with his loving wallflower wife on a Saturday night in a small town. I adored him as an actor and even more so in person. He was such a kind man and very kind to me.
Penn helped Twain when she was in a sticky situation, and she’s eternally grateful to the actor for helping her out at a time when she needed it. “To me, Sean came across as someone who cared about the underdog,” she honestly said. “It seemed like he listened more than he talked, but he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. A real straight shooter.
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