Duran Duran, on location: Filming the Save a Prayer video
From Teen Beat (June 1984)
When Duran Duran do a video, they do it in style! But what can be next for a band who seem to have already been to every beautiful place in the world?
The first locale to benefit from Duran Duran’s wanderlust was Sri Lanka, a largish island off the tip of the Indian subcontinent, frequently described by residents and visitors alike as “the most beautiful place in the world.”
Nick Rhodes recalls exactly how they decided to go there.
“Our manager went there on holiday,” he says with a shake of his orange hair, “and we were asking him, just by coincidence, where there were temples and jungle, and whatever else — we were describing things we wanted to encompass within our videos, and he said, ‘I went to Sri Lanka not long ago — we should go there.'”
“And so we checked it out, with pictures and things, and we finally decided to take the plunge.”
That plunge, which they took to make “Hungry Like The Wolf” and “Save A Prayer,” was not without its hazards.
“People think, ‘Oh, they went on holiday for two weeks and made a film,'” Nick says with a trace of annoyance in his voice, “but it was hard work. We had to get up at six a.m. and work 12- and sometimes 18-hour days, just like a feature film shoot.
“Plus we had to deal with things like continued unexpected tropical storms, and a power outage on the last day of shooting when we still had one crucial scene to do!”
… Sri Lanka held other surprises for Duran Duran. “Save A Prayer” contains a scene where they are standing, solemn and barefoot, in a temple.
As soon as the cameras stopped rolling, however, another scene came into view: that of the boys making a mad dash for their shoes, as their bare feet were scorched by the temple’s hot stone floor!
John Taylor has a philosophical outlook about all this. “Hey, it’s all just part of being in a pop group, you know?” he says with a grin.
After a world-hopping tour which included Japan and Australia, their next location was the Caribbean island of Antigua, where they filmed “Rio” and “The Nightboat.”
It was a more relaxed setting for them, although Simon Le Bon confesses that the scenes in “Rio” on a rented yacht were enough to make him quite seasick!
Roger got the worst of it yet again —being bitten by a crab is no fun!
“Union Of The Snake” was shot in the Australian outback and in a college hall there. The band spent several months in Australia mixing the Seven And The Ragged Tiger album, and found its vastness so alluring that they decided that they had to capture it on film.
“New Moon On Monday” was another story. It was filmed in the French countryside, someplace John and Nick both say they have always wanted to work (they had already spent some time there last spring, writing songs and attending the prestigious Cannes Film Festival).
Nick also got to indulge a not-so-secret passion—for French food and champagne!
Duran Duran have sometimes been criticized for their use of exotic locations. That makes John Taylor angry. “I think that’s all bull,” he says.
Simon Le Bon agrees. “The fact that we fly around is because our work is all over the world. If people think that’s glamorous, fine. But if people think that’s something bad, I’d like some reasons for it.”
Nonetheless, John hints that a change of style may be in order. “Our videos did give the impression that we were frolicking around on beaches or going sailing in the afternoon.”
Which they are decidedly not doing in real life — they’re much busy working. “We have made a few mistakes, and I think that was one of them.” John says a bit glumly. “But I don’t regret having done it,” he adds.
And Nick agrees. “I think it’s good to move around,” he says. “It keeps everything bright and enthusiastic, and it keeps a certain amount of tension as well!”
So what’s the next stop for Duran Duran? “China, and Iceland, and Russia, and Brazil!” Nick smiles. Stay tuned.
Roger, Nick, John, Simon and Andy with some Sri Lankan children in a scene from “Save A Prayer.”