From self-directing her music videos to breaking our hearts with All Too Well: The Short Film, Taylor Swift is now ready to take the helm for the big screen.
After surprising us with a release of two chart-topping albums in 2020 (even amid a pandemic), with Evermore and Folklore, the latter of which she won her third album of the year Grammy for (the most wins for a female music act), American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift continues her iconic trail of successes. Last year, she made an impactful statement with the release of her re-recorded albums Fearless and Red. Also, earlier this year, the New York University awarded Taylor the Doctor of Fine arts degree where she delivered a resonant commencement speech.
Last October, Taylor Swift released her tenth studio album Midnights, which earned her four Guinness World Records. And just like how she encouraged the NYU graduates and what she told us in Labyrinth, it seems that we really need to breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, and breathe out, because our blondie queen is not done impressing us.
As if this isn’t enough, we’re also gonna see Taylor at the director’s chair once again, this time for the big screen, as it’s confirmed that she will make her feature directorial debut with Searchlight Pictures.
TAYLOR’S STORYTELLER SEASON
In a press release, it was announced that Taylor Swift signed a deal with Walt Disney Company’s subsidiary Searchlight Pictures for her first-ever feature film. While the plot and cast details are still under wraps, it’s confirmed that the 11-time Grammy and Emmy winner has written an original screenplay for her feature debut.
“Taylor is a once in a generation artist and storyteller. It is a genuine joy and privilege to collaborate with her as she embarks on this exciting and new creative journey,” shared David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, president of Searchlight Pictures, the studio behind Academy Award best picture winners Slumdog Millionaire, The Shape of Water, and Nomadland.
With this news, we are really witnessing Taylor Swift’s filmmaker era, taking a big step forward from making music videos to conquering the big screen. Speaking of this, after some time of co-directing her music videos (like Mine, Me!, and You Need To Calm Down), Taylor marked her first time self-directing for her single The Man and her filmmaking debut with her 14-minute short film All Too Well: The Short Film, an adaptation of the 10-minute extended version of her achingly beautiful single, which she also wrote.
For these projects, Taylor has won two best direction trophies at the MTV Video Music Awards, making her the first singer to do that. She’s also won her third video of the year award for All Too Well: The Short Film, holding the record for most wins in the said category. The Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien-starring short film is also eligible for the 95th Oscars and has held screenings at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival as part of its campaign.
TELLING HUMAN STORIES
“[This is] me stepping out of what I usually do, which is writing songs and singing them,” shares Taylor Swift in a conversation with director Mike Mills in Tribeca, talking about her decision to direct the music video for The Man. “It was a vulnerable moment where you’re sort of on the precipice of finding something new and you’re just really hoping you do everything perfectly,” she adds, noting that she’s had impostor syndrome going into the process. “It is also important to remind yourself you shouldn’t do everything perfectly because you need to learn and grow.”
Curious about the kind of stories Taylor Swift wants to pursue in her potential filmmaking career? In a talk with TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, Taylor intimates that she wants to try themes outside the usual heartbreak-centric music that she writes about. “I think I will always want to tell human stories about human emotion. I never say never, but I can’t imagine myself filming an action sequence. If it happens one day, honestly, that’ll be funny character growth, but at this point, I could see it going in a more comedic, irreverent place.”
Taylor Swift recently appeared in David O’Russel’s crime comedy Amsterdam and has previously starred in Valentine’s Day, The Giver, and (*ehem, ehem*) Cats. She’s also gearing up for The Eras Tour next year. Meanwhile, you can watch Taylor Swift as she joins Variety’s Directors on Directors series together with the directors of the biggest films this year (including Avatar: The Way of Water’s James Cameron and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s Ryan Coogler). Taylor will be joined by Irish filmmaker Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), starting off the series with their video premiering on December 13, Philippine time. Some of the movies Taylor has been in haven’t been the most well received so we’re hoping she manages to shake it off and give us a great first movie.
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