When American pop stars came to town for secret comeback video shoot
- Credit: Republic Records. Supplied by Chuff Media
Two years ago this week an American pop rock group reunited in secret for filming of the video of their comeback single — in Hatfield.
It might seem an unlikely place for the story to unfold but that's exactly what happened when former American boy band Jonas Brothers returned from an extended hiatus in 2019.
And the video's producers picked Hatfield House to film the promo for the band's then new single, entitled Sucker.
A three-minute exploration of overwhelming devotion — “you’re the medicine for my pain, the tattoo inside my brain” goes the pre-chorus — Sucker topped the Billboard charts in America and reached the top five in the UK.
The video has now been watched on YouTube more than 300 million times.
Which is nice global exposure for Hatfield House, which also happens to be pictured on the single's cover artwork behind the three brothers.
An extended director's cut of the video was later released, which has also been viewed 28.5 million times.
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Posting on Instagram, Nick Jonas wrote about Sucker: "We really had the best time shooting this video in England with our family.
"Hope you guys love it. Feels good to be back 😎 @jonasbrothers"
The pop video was filmed over one hectic weekend at the Hertfordshire stately home in February 2019.
It premiered a few weeks later on March 1, after the band had officially revealed they were back together.
They broke the reunion news on one of James Corden's Carpool Karaoke skits ahead of a week-long takeover of Corden's The Late Late Show.
The video shoot is documented in a behind-the-scenes feature posted on the Jonas Brothers' YouTube channel, which you can watch below, with Nick describing Hatfield House as "a castle".
Directed by Anthony Mandler whose credits include music videos for Rihanna, Muse, Jay-Z, Drake and Taylor Swift, the Sucker promo sees the brothers and A-list partners drive up to the South Front entrance of Hatfield House in a tiny yellow car.
The 400-year-old Jacobean mansion is decorated with 5,000 balloons, with the aerial footage captured by a drone.
The group perform the track in the Marble Hall in front of the Queen Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait watched by their partners — and lots of rabbits.
They later enjoy a wild Alice in Wonderland-like tea party in the estate's grounds.
Scenes of the video were also shot in the Library and the Long Gallery with its gold leaf ceiling that also featured in Olivia Colman and Emma Stone movie The Favourite.
This time it is former Miss World and Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra Jonas walking down the Long Gallery, disrobing as she goes.
Kevin Jonas also enjoys a spot of fencing in the Armoury, and a wacky banquet takes place in the King James Drawing Room, which houses the famous Ermine Portrait of Elizabeth I.
The gardens also features in the music clip, while the Old Palace at Hatfield House was used to store costumes during the shoot.
Hatfield House's website states: "The filming for the video Sucker took place in mid- February and over an entire weekend.
"It was both an exciting and challenging project to be involved in and one that we are proud to have been a part of.
"It was a fast-paced project that required the involvement of many of the Hatfield House team to ensure that priceless items of furniture and artwork were moved safely and protected.
"Fortunately the English winter weather was on the side of the Jonas Brothers, director Anthony Mandler and crew as the sun shone for the majority of the filming that took place outside, although it was still a little chilly!"
As well as the three brothers, Nick, Joe and Kevin, their wives and partners — Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Games of Thrones' Sophie Turner, and American reality TV star and actress Danielle Jonas — also feature in the video.
Despite it being winter at the time of the shoot, the couples were filmed outdoors having baths in tubs circled around the fountain in the West Garden.
Scenes of Catherine the Great period drama The Great were also shot in the same gardens at Hatfield House.
Of the catchy song, Nick Jonas says: “It’s got a great rock feel to it, mixed with some really soulful elements on the vocals.
"The lyric is about being hopelessly in love, and that’s something that resonates with all of us."
At the time of the track's release on Republic Records' website, Nick states: "Kevin’s got a wife of 10 years and two kids, I’m newly married, and Joe gets married later on this year.
"The love in our world, to be able to share that with our fans, that’s a dream come true.”
The reveals are in the music itself.
“It starts with Nick singing, then goes to Joe, and then they’re harmonizing together in the first pre-chorus,” says Kevin.
“We’re a band with two lead singers, essentially, and this song showcases their voices out front, together.”
Joe adds: “For me, Sucker is a poppy Black Keys record. It’s got bass, guitar, drums and there’s not a lot else going on.
"It’s nice just to showcase vocals and harmonies — that’s something that I’ve been excited for: to harmonize with my brother.”
The road to new music for the Jonas Brothers began a year before making the Sucker video in Hatfield, with discussions about what form a reunion might take.
But before those discussions could get too far, some healing was necessary.
The New Jersey trio announced their split in 2013, after four studio albums, two Disney TV movies, two seasons of a TV series, and non-stop touring.
But though all three agree good things have come from the split, there were still a lot of feelings to work through.
“We were having conversations we’d never really had,” says Joe.
Nick adds: “We did a lot of healing as a family. Healing that was long overdue.”
All three brothers are quick to say that from the moment they picked up some acoustic guitars and sang together again, a feeling they’d missed for far too long instantly returned.
“That’s when everything became clear to us: how we were going to write songs, and what they were going to be about,” says Kevin.
Following Sucker came US Billboard No 1 album Happiness Begins, and Amazon behind-the-scenes documentary film Chasing Happiness.
On the first anniversary of their comeback, the band posted on their Instagram page: "Insane to think this time last year we had just officially shared the big news with you guys that we were releasing music together again.
"It's incredible to reflect on how crazy supportive you guys have been all year.
"We really weren't sure if anyone would love Sucker the way we did, and to see all the ways this song and the others from #HappinessBegins, have been a part of your lives this past year is just... wow.
"We're so grateful you guys keep coming back. We're so happy to have the best fans in the world. We're the lucky ones."
Hatfield House played a starring role in that journey.