Jillian Bell Talks About Her Directorial Debut (EXCLUSIVE)

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Jillian Bell is quickly working her way to the status of comedy icon. She started her career with a bang, playing the similarly named ‘Jillian Belk’ on Comedy Central’s hit series Workaholics. Shortly after that she took on her first leading role in a feature film with Brittany Runs a Marathon. That film allowed Jillian to showcase her comedic and dramatic talents. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Amazon Studios for release. However, as much as she loved acting, Jillian had her sights set on another role, one that put her behind the camera.


If I Didn’t Love You

Jillian is a fan of musician Ben Abraham. And why wouldn’t she be? His songs are heartfelt and his voice is beautiful. A perfect combination for a folk singer capable of delivering music that’s mellow and infectious.

“His voice reminds me of a young Michael Bublé, and I love that.” – Jillian Bell

So, it was a no brainer when she had the opportunity to direct the music video for Ben’s love ballad If I didn’t Love You. She was all in. Jillian pitched two ideas for the video. The first, was a standard music video featuring images of romance and gorgeous scenery; a ‘by the books’ take on romantic music. The other, was anything but. Jillian envisioned a music video that’s tone contrasted the melodic nature of the song and took viewers through a story that was both hilarious, and violently shocking. She pitched them both and Ben Abraham was quick to throw in his vote.


“He loved it. He said ‘That one!’ He wanted to do the funny one.” – Jillian Bell

With the singer and song writer fully backing her, Jillian moved forward with a music video that is, quite honestly, unique in every way. In the video, a musician, played by Ben Abraham as he sings If I Didn’t Love You, begins to stalk and torment a happy couple, driving them to extreme measure’s to escape.

Jillian Bell Talks About Her Directorial Debut (Exclusive) - FandomWire
From left to right: Charlie Day, Ben Abraham, Mary Elizabeth Ellis in the Jillian Bell directed ‘If I Didn’t Love You.’

The Cast

Casting the music video would be vital. This was, after all, a video with a story and characters. Those characters had to be believable. Ben would, of course, play himself (or at least a version of himself). But who exactly would play the happy couple forced to violence was still up in the air.

“I wanted it to be a real couple. And I immediately thought of them (Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis) because I knew them. And I had worked with both of them.” – Jillian Bell

Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis are iconic comedians in their own right. Best known for their roles on the series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the two agreed and proved to be perfect for the roles. Their commitment to the parts, even as the story delves into ridiculous levels of madness, help to sell it. One line in particular, spoken with hilarious intensity by Charlie Day, stands out: “Dance… He wants us to dance.”

Jillian Bell Talks About Her Directorial Debut (Exclusive) - FandomWire
From left to right: Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Charlie Day, Ben Abraham in the Jillian Bell directed ‘If I Didn’t Love You.’

Watch the music video, directed by Jillian Bell, here: ‘If I Didn’t Love You’ By Ben Abraham

The Message Behind The Music Video

Near the ending of the video, the couple at the center of the story violently attack and (seemingly kill) their singing stalker. It leans into the rage and violence of the moment with a flurry of punches, kicks and an abundance of blood spatter. Only for Ben to magically reappear, blood stained and still singing, as the couple attempt to flee.

Only when the couple tip the musician for his song does the madness relent. Earlier in the video, when things were seemingly happy and normal, the couple had come across the musician playing his song in the park. They stop to listen for a moment before continuing on with their day. So, what’s the message? Well, it seems pretty clear and if you ask Jillian, she’ll tell you bluntly.


“Pay for art. Don’t just walk by.” – Jillian Bell

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Written by Joshua Ryan

Articles Published: 243

Joshua Ryan is the Creative Coordinator and Head Film & TV Critic for FandomWire. He's a member of the Critics Choice Association and spokesperson for the Critics Association of Central Florida. Joshua is also one of the hosts of the podcast, The Movie Divide.