Zelda Williams is a mainstay in front of the camera, but she recently stepped behind the scenes to helm her directorial debut, the music video for JoJo’s “Save My Soul.” The actress and the singer were already acquainted after JoJo played the daughter of Zelda's late dad, Robin Williams, in the 2006 film RV, and they've both struggled with losing their fathers. Their emotion comes through in the powerful video, which has racked up more than two million views on YouTube.
“The song is about addiction. I mean not necessarily substance addiction. To love, to not being alone. Unfortunately, [JoJo's] father died a month after we filmed it as wel l... but the song kind of is about that world and what she went through with him,” Zelda told Hello!
JoJo, 25, whose father died at age 60 last November, took to Instagram to express her own feelings about what the music video means to her in a long, handwritten statement that says, “I wanted to convey the feeling of powerlessness I’ve felt in my life in an uncomplicated way and show a range of what it might look like for others who’ve been there.”
While it may be her first work as a director, “Save My Soul” does represent the fulfilment of a long-held dream for Zelda, 26, whose mother is Robin's ex-wife, Marsha Garces.
“I always wanted to. I got signed as a writer-director as of last year. It’s a much less self-conscious thing for me. At least so far. I can’t speak to where I’ll wind up a couple of years from now, but it’s been really lovely to have some modicum of control. As an actress you’re literally not even saying your own words so its very nice to get to make something of my own.”
“Save My Soul” is a song that explores emotional pain, a subject that Zelda knows as she strives to honour her own father, Robin, a year after his death.
“I think with anyone who has really lost anyone, honouring people is kind of a daily thing. You remember them, it’s your job when they’re gone. But Dad would be proud of me. He always was. I think more than anything he would be really happy that I’m proud of myself now.”
One way Zelda is keeping her dad's spirit alive is by remembering his words. So what was the most important piece of advice her father gave her? “Be nice. Be nice to everyone. There’s never a good excuse not to be.”