Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Girl in the Video: “Infatuation” (1984)

Introduction to series “The Girl in the Video 2” (including list of interviewees).

The video: “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart.

The girl-now-woman: Kay Lenz.





How old were you when you appeared in the “Infatuation” video?

31.

Where were you living at the time?

Hollywood Hills, CA.

What music videos, shows, or movies had you appeared in prior to that?

That was my first music video, but I had been working in film and TV since the age of 13. I’ve been fortunate that there are too many things to list here.

How were you cast?

Jonathan Kaplan, the director, called and asked if I would do the video.

Do you remember what your reaction was when you were cast?

I said yes without reservation. I had worked with Jonathan three times before this and he was one of my favorite directors. I was in rehearsal for a play at the time and my first concern was being able to fit the video into my schedule. After discussing the logistics of me doing the video, Jonathan said to me, “Kay, are you at all interested in whose video this is? You haven’t even asked.” He was right, I had not asked because working with him again was all I was interested in.

Then he told me it was a Rod Stewart video. I thought, “Rod Stewart!” Why do you want to hire me? Stewart’s videos showcased exceptionally beautiful, leggy, blond women. A category I was not in. Jonathan said that they needed someone who could act, that it was not just a performance video but also an acting piece. I was happy to do this before I knew it was a Rod Stewart video, now I was thrilled.

Were you a Rod Stewart fan?

Of course. Who wasn’t?

Where was the video filmed?

In various practical locations in Hollywood. The merry-go-round scene was filmed in Griffith Park.

How long was the shoot?

Approximately four days.

How did you feel making the video?

I felt the way I always do when I am working…happy and grateful to be working.



What was the hardest part of the shoot?

I am not comfortable in front of a still camera, so the day spent taking all the still photographs that were hung on the walls in Rod Stewart’s character’s apartment was a bit difficult for me. The shoot itself was not hard; it went smoothly and without a hitch.

How was it to work with Rod Stewart? What was he like? Did he hit on you?

It was wonderful to work with him. He is smart, interesting, and involved. He was a perfect gentleman. He treated me with professional respect and kindness. I think we worked very well together.

I also want to express what a privilege it was meeting Jeff Beck, whom I had respected for many years.

Any funny stories from the shoot?

Jonathan told me that they would be blowing up one of the photographs that they had taken of me. I thought that meant a life-sized photo; I’m only 5’3”. When I came to the set the night they were shooting the performance part of the video—i.e. Rod Stewart in front of this photograph—I was there for an hour before I even noticed the photograph. It was at least 12x12 foot. It was so big I didn’t notice it.

Anything go wrong on the shoot?

No, nothing.

What did you think of the video?

I thought it was smart, creatively unique for music videos at that time, beautifully photographed, and well edited. Jonathan’s brilliant touch was evident throughout the video. As a huge Hitchcock fan, I loved the reference in this video to one of my favorite films, Rear Window.

And let’s not forget that “Infatuation” was and still is a fantastic song.



What did your parents think of it?

They loved it.

What did your friends think of it?

My colleagues and friends felt the same way I did about video—creative, unique, and extremely well done.

Did you watch the MTV World Premiere of the video, and if so, where and how did that
feel?

No, I rarely watch work that I’ve done. But when I did see it, I loved it.

Did the video ever affect your dating life in any way (i.e. when you first told boyfriends you were the woman in it)?

No.

Did you receive fan mail? If so, do you still have any of it?

Yes, it made me happy to hear how much people enjoyed the video. I still receive fan
mail to this day.

Did the video generate any controversy that you know of?

There was no controversy around this video.

What were you paid?

I can’t remember.

Were you ever recognized in public?

Yes, I was recognized as the girl in the “Infatuation” video. It developed a new fan base for me: 8- to 16-year-old boys.



Did you appear in other music videos after that?

Only music videos having to do with soundtracks for films I appeared in.

Did you ever meet other women who were female leads in a mainstream ‘80s rock video?

Haven’t met any.

If you went to college, where and what did you study?

I spent only a short time in college because I started acting full-time in my late teens. When I was there, I studied psychology.

What are you doing these days?

Fortunately I continue to do what I love, acting.



Where do you live?

Malibu, CA.

If you are/were married, what was your future husband’s reaction when he learned you were in this video?

I was not married at the time.

Kids?

I do not have children.

What did you think when you first heard from me?

I am and always will be very private. I shy away from most personal interviews. This interview, however, is about the opportunity to sing the praises of the people involved in making this video three decades later.

Has anyone else ever interviewed you about this?

No.

Have you appeared at any fan conventions to sign autographs?

Yes I have.

Did you stay in touch with Rod Stewart?

It was a working situation with the exception of his gracious invitations to attend several concerts.

When was the last time you were in touch?

In the mid-eighties.

How do you look back on the experience?

I treasure the memories of that experience.

Anything you’d like to add?

As someone who is not musical—who mouths “Happy Birthday”—it was unexpected and remains dear to my heart that this video is considered a part of rock history.

Tweet about this interview to @rodstewart @TheRealKayLenz!

Next: John Waite, “Missing You” (1984).

8 comments:

Marc Edward Heuck said...

I have one small quibble with this interview: I wish you had asked her about how Kaplan shot two endings for the video - one where she ditches Stewart, the other where he wins her (MTV ran both, though they ran the primary one more) - and maybe which one she preferred.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

I didn't know! I can ask now and if she answers, add it in.

hobbyfan said...

Ya know, I didn't even know she was in the video. She'd done some prime time work before "Infatuation".

Shoot, the only takeaway I got from the video is that Rod also gave some work to Mike Mazurki (the bodyguard), who spent much of his time in my neck of the woods before moving to Hollywood.

Scott said...

I'm surprised that you didn't mention somewhere that Kay was David Cassidy's first wife. They were married from 1977-1983.
She's also a two-time Emmy award winner (5-time nominee) and Golden Globe nominee.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Scott - that info is already out there. Besides, this was Kay in her own words and focused mostly on that one video. If she didn't choose to mention those things, that was her prerogative!

Dark Star said...

Remembered that video,not only because it was good,and more like a little short film (about a guy stalking this woman,basically) plus the song itself was a great dance tune,but it's rarely even played on the radio nowadays. Too bad, because it was one of Stewart's best songs he made in the '80's

B. A. Howerton said...

Kay Lenz had a body that was exceptionally well proportioned. Although I had in my youth been in a few beauty pagents I honestly do not remember competing with anyone that could come close to having what I considered to be her nearly perfect form.

gttrrr said...

Despite the wikipedia claim, there was more than 2 different endings to that video.
There were at least 3 endings i can recall and i almost swear even a 4th.
The ones i remember had one where the girl drives off with rod, and another where she drives off with another guy and another where she drives off alone.

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