Although she had already begun documenting her meteoric success in 2019 when Live Nation asked her to be the subject of a documentary, pop-rap superstar Lizzo said: “We really didn’t know what it was going to be about. I was afraid it would be boring. Three years, two Grammy-winning albums and a historic Emmy-winning reality competition series after her, her Max film “Love, Lizzo” proved that her life was anything but.
He looked comfortable on a long brown leather sofa inside a Burbank recording studio, wearing an all-black Yitty suit he had preview on Instagram an hour before the interview, Lizzo told IndieWire that the original concept for her documentary was to take the footage they had of her planning the 2019 Coachella and VMAs sets (a process that inspired her series Prime Video “Watch Out For The Big Grrls”). and bring in director Doug Pray (“Hype!”) to help tell the origin story of her, and film the start of a huge homecoming show at the Houston Rodeo.
“And then the COVID lockdown happened, and Doug had just signed on and was like, ‘This is a completely different documentary now,'” Lizzo said. With live performances, including the rodeo show, cancelled, the musician began work on “Special,” the follow-up to her RIAA-certified platinum debut. “I really have to give Doug Pray a lot of credit. We just have an abundant amount of footage of me, some of which might be very boring,” he said with a laugh. “But he turned it into this wonderful documentary that tells my story, but also documents this high that I was at 2019 to 2020, the COVID lockdown and how that changed me as a person making ‘Special’, all at the same time, which I think is really hard to do. And he did it really beautifully.
An easy way to put it is that Lizzo starts the movie in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom rental in Silver Lake, and ends the movie in the first house she bought. However, “Love, Lizzo,” an Emmy contender for Best Documentary or Non-Fiction Special, also shows how the stakes grow as the spotlight on her gets brighter. “(Because) my profile had gone up a little bit more, I was getting a lot of public reactions and the public perception of me was starting to piss me off, really,” Lizzo said. Not only does the film show all the trolling concern about her weight (which had again caused her to momentarily block her Twitter account a day before her conversation with IndieWire), but some of the criticism leveled at her by the black community saying she is focused just about making music for a white audience.
“People really don’t know how talented I am, and how much I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into this. And it was actually really affirmative to sit down and be like, ‘Yo, nah, I want you to come see me get on this plane from Austin, and fly to L.A., get off this plane and go straight to the studio and master my album , no sleep,” the star said. “I think the exact words to the team of doctors were: ‘I need people to respect my name.'”
While all is said in high spirits, Lizzo takes her artistry very seriously, so the pivot for filming the making of ‘Special’ suited her goals. “I want the world to know how I come up with lyrics and melodies, and how I produce, and why Lizzo is said to executive produce my albums, and how hard I work, and how little sleep I get, and how much I care about people. and about my team,” he said. “And I wanted to document that, not just for the world to see, but for me to have as a journal in the future to look back on.”
He added, “It’s great to document because I’m doing some pretty legendary stuff, and I want to be able to look back on it one day and go, ‘Wow, that’s how it happened.’ Because I love looking back at Bob Mackie and Cher videos, and I’m like, “Wow, they put that look together” and in that moment it’s kind of like, “Oh, this is just my outfit for the day.” ‘ But 20 years later is an iconic reference. So you never know what kind of iconoclasm you are creating.
Lizzo thought receiving the offer for an HBO concert special was instantly iconic, especially since it was in conjunction with the documentary. “They were like, ‘Can you give us an ID and a special gig?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, we can do anything,’ she said exuberantly. “I had the package, baby! I was preparing for this.
Eligible for an Emmy Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded), “Lizzo: Live In Concert” captures the last night of the first leg of her special tour, filmed by Done + Dusted in Los Angeles. “They’ve come to a lot of shows before that show just to figure out how I move around the stage, all the angles and danglings. And we have SZA, Cardi B and Missy Elliott. Like what?! Only the nicest people and we put on a show that I’m really proud of,” Lizzo said. “I want to do more because I’ll tell you what, my albums are good, but my live show is even better. And people indeed take it when they see me live.
But Lizzo’s TV takeover didn’t stop there. Since winning the Emmy for Outstanding Competition Program last September with “Watch Out For The Big Grrls,” the first streaming series to do so, Lizzo has also guest starred on recent seasons of “The Mandalorian” and “The Simpsons”, with both series submitting her for Emmy consideration in the respective categories of Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series and Outstanding Voice-Over Performance of the Character. “It’s like ‘OK, our first foray into television, we won an Emmy, so let’s keep doing TV.’ But that’s not the case at all,” she said.
After being cast into the Star Wars franchise by her late father, Lizzo joked that she “exploded in confetti” getting the call from “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau. However, the Season 3 episode “Guns For Hire,” in which she plays the Duchess of Plazir opposite her on-screen spouse Jack Black, was filmed prior to her Emmy win. Likewise, the producers of “The Simpsons” had known for some time that she was a fan willing to cooperate, “but the script had to be perfect, and they came to us with this perfect script,” Lizzo said. She voicing the magical elf Goobie-Woo, who guides Homer through a “It’s a Wonderful Life” assessment of his relationship with Marge in the 750th episode of FOX’s Mainstay, “was just the right time, the right creativity. We just engaged and it all happened at the same time.
“I never thought I’d be like this on TV in a million years, but here I am,” Lizzo said of her big TV year. More importantly, she was able to incorporate her own musicianship into it all. “Music will always be the number one priority, and home for me, and everything I do will have some sort of connection to my music,” the “About Damn Time” singer said. “Even in ‘Mandalorian’, I play flute in the background, which was really cool. And Goobie-Woo and Homer sang, and Sasha Flute appeared in the episode. While she is grateful for her television work, Lizzo appreciates that her artistry goes beyond that. “I don’t feel like me Need make television. I only do it if I want to, and if it’s right, and if I feel like it. Let’s keep it real.
Quoting the immortal words of one Blue Ivy, Lizzo said, “I’m just dreaming bigger, and I’ve taken the roof off my goals, like I’ve never seen a roof in my entire life.” So yeah, she thought about pursuing the other two awards she would need for EGOT. “I’m very talented and capable of whatever it takes to be (at) Tonys. I was writing musicals in high school based on works I loved by Rossini and Russian novel composers,” Lizzo said. “When it comes to Oscars, I love movies and I’ve actually made music for movies. Barbie movie, it’s really exciting, don’t jump to conclusions or anything.
For her, the problem is not talent and self-determination, but finding a purpose. “If I just do things just to make them, it won’t hit. It won’t feel right. It will not work. And I think at the core of everything I do, I have to feel like it, and it has to vibrate with me, and it has to make sense, and it has to do something for the world,” Lizzo said. Also, “you know I’m going to be extra. I’m making it, I’m producing it, I’m working on it behind the scenes, I’m up ’til 2:00 in the morning sweating that’s the only reason this shit matters to me. So could I win an EGOT? die. Yes. Is that the goal? I think the goal is the projects first. Passion first. And we’ll see.”