So when it came time to make her documentary "Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry" (streaming on Apple TV+ Friday), Eilish, 19, naturally looked to the workplace sitcom for inspiration.
Director of the documentary R.J. Cutler tells USA TODAY, "When we first met and were chatting about the (film), I was like, 'What would you want it to be like? And she said, 'I want it to be like "The Office."
The director explained that Billie Eilish wanted a complete and genuine approach, like John Krasinski's relationship with the camera where a glance over can break the fourth wall. We incorporated this technique two or three times during important moments, where she looks right down the barrel of the camera.
"You know that she's seeing you and she knows you're seeing her. It's that very Billie Eilish connection with the audience."
The documentary offers an intimate glimpse into how the 19-year-old singer has dealt with fame and touring, struggles with her mental and physical health, and just being a teen.
R.J. Cutler said, "Billie Eilish is the vision of Billie Eilish: her entire body of work, her image, her business. She's the boss" He added, " That footage was shot when she was 16, and the composition and specificity and confidence she has is great to see. It won't be surprising if Billie's career ultimately involves a healthy amount of directing."
The documentary “The World’s A Little Blurry” begins with a clip of singer Billie Eilish singing “Ocean Eyes” a song written by Finneas; she performed and released this song at the age of 13, which thrust her into the spotlight. In a home video, she’s seen hearing the song on the radio for the first time while her dad, appearing behind her, nonchalantly folds a pair of underwear.
Including a raw look at how she has reluctantly navigated becoming a public persona, the two-hour documentary follows Billie Eilish's meteoric rise. Eilish during an early performance, "This is so weird, you guys, I'm nobody. I don't know why you like me."
The behind-the-scenes looks at Eilish and Finneas recording their first album together is a definite highlight. The doc lets us in on their creative process, during which they function as a single entity; where Finneas is confident in the work and quick to produce, Eilish is critical and full of self-doubts, and the two balance each other out.
At one point Billie Eilish said, “It sounds bad, and I sound horrible—I can’t sound good because I’m not good” Finneas replied to Eilish, “Lots of people would agree with me that you’re very good.”
Cutler says, "We're thoughtful, we're sensitive – we're not hiding in corners. But there was no specific area of her life at all that we were not invited into." He added, "We're telling the story of this extraordinary artist who's exploding on the world cultural stage, and of a young woman who's crossing the threshold from childhood to adulthood." The director Cutler credits Eilish's family and team for helping her navigate stardom.
One of the doc's saddest moments comes late in the film when the singer is ambushed by various executives and their kids demanding pictures at her concert. Afterward, she sees a comment online saying she was "rude at the meet-and-greet."
understandably frustrated Billie Eilish said, "I literally can't have a bad moment. "I don't want anyone who knows who I am and is any sort of fan or knows a fan to see me in any sort of awkward situation. It's embarrassing and I have to keep smiling, and if I don't, they hate me and think I'm horrible."
Eilish mom responded, "No throwing her to the wolves"
R.J. Cutler says, "The pressure is constant; it's hard work. "is so damn smart. I remember asking her guitar tech the first day of shooting, 'What's the key to their success, Billie and Finneas?” He said, 'They don't give a (expletive) and they're always right. They've been smart enough to surround themselves with the grown-ups who recognize that and support that, and don't want them to be anything other than what they are."