There are many reasons that Beyoncé's new album is amazing, but one of the most prominent is undoubtedly the fact that the first voice you hear on the album's first track, "Pretty Hurts," is that of actor Harvey Keitel. A random choice, it seems, but according to Beyoncé's former creative director and the director of the "Pretty Hurts" video Melina Matsoukas, not as much as you would think—apparently, Keitel is just a huge fan of Beyoncé's. You and the rest of us, buddy.
As Matsoukas told Vulture in a new interview:
So, Harvey Keitel: How did he wind up in this video?
I knew I wanted this kind of, like, greasy, Vegas-type pageant character, and I was trying to think of who could pull that off, and of course Harvey was who I wanted. I love his work and I’ve followed him my whole life. And he’s from New York, and I knew he could pull it off. So we reached out and he was really into it; he was a big fan of Beyoncé’s. So he came and he did it. And he was there all day, so graciously. And that day was just, again, a really hard day. We were shooting in a school and we were supposed to shoot a bunch of other scenes but never got out of the auditorium. [...]
What did you think he was going to be like — scary?
You know, he’s an accomplished actor and he’s used to working a certain way, and on videos, that doesn’t always happen. And we had to wait around all day. And not eight hours — I’m talking twenty hours. And for a small part. And he did. And it’s not like we paid him. He’s Harvey Keitel — he doesn’t need money [laughs]. He just stayed there because he wanted to do it.
In other words: Keitel worked for free on Beyoncé's new album because he's that big a fan. Hey, in exchange for spending a whole day around Queen Bey and being featured in her new, top-selling album—that's compensation money can't even compare to.