Justin Timberlake — the multi-platinum pop crooner who has built a worldwide recording empire on singing tales of desire, both lost and found — has taken his job into the streets with a documentary-style music video for his latest single, “Not a Bad Thing,” in which a film crew pursues an unknown couple that became engaged on the Long Island Rail Road last January.
The video, which premiered on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 20, regales viewers in the “absolutely true story” of one man who proposed to his girlfriend on Jan. 12 while riding a Manhattan bound Babylon train at 8:20 p.m and playing Timberlake’s song from a small stereo.
“It was a crisp, cold Sunday night on a Long Island Rail Road train, speeding toward New York City,” a female narrator says at the start of the video. “It was a scene out of a movie like ‘Say Anything.’”
Director Dennis Liu and producer Brooke McDaniel, both of Radical Media, a global film and television company, can be seen in the video walking the streets of Long Island and Manhattan with a team of filmmakers and talking to locals in search of the couple. The film crew was commissioned by RCA Records to launch this project after the label received a tip from another rider who witnessed the marriage proposal.
“It’s something that was inspired very organically, based off a true story,” Liu said. “I think what makes this story interesting is trying to find [the couple] and find out what their story is.”
Reenacted in the 5-minute music video, the proposal, according to Liu and McDaniel, occurred when the train was heading from the Rockville Centre to Jamaica stations before finally stopping at Penn Station.
Liu and McDaniel described the couple as looking between 23 to 28 years old and of Italian or Puerto Rican descent. While the young man wore a canvas style jacket with Timberland work boots, the young woman wore a pink peacoat and is described as having dark curly hair.