On the heels of winning the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year, Taylor Swift Brought “well: The short film for the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9 to discuss in front of dozens of loyal fans. How dedicated? The first group lined up at midnight, the second group arrived at 5 am – they didn’t even have tickets yet, but were hoping to call He will answer their prayers, or they catch a glimpse of Swift as he walks by.
The talk, moderated by TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, focused on Swift’s directing process and looking at her music from a visual angle. It was also paired with the first 35mm demo of “All Too Well” which she wrote, directed, produced and appeared in.
News headlines? Deep in the conversation, I asked Billy if Swift would be interested in making feature films someday, and she said yes, if she could find the right materials.
“I like to keep taking small steps forward,” she said. “And I think I’m in a place now where the next step isn’t a small one. He’s going to be committed to making a movie. And I feel like I’d absolutely love the right opportunity to get up because I absolutely adore telling stories in this way.”
When asked more about the features, she said, “If it was the right thing, it would be a privilege and an honor.”
Discussing the kinds of novels she wants to explore, Swift said, “I think I’ll always want to tell human stories about human feelings. I never say ‘no’ ever, but I can’t imagine myself shooting an action scene. If it ever happened, honestly.” That would be a funny character growth, but at this point I can see that in a much more comical and irreverent setting.I don’t always see myself telling stories of intense, cyclical heartbreak in your most formative age that weakens you emotionally for years and then you have to develop scar tissue from order to move on with your life, meander your way to the typewriter. And write a novel about it. I think I did.”
Swift also discussed the films that influenced the “All Too Well” project.
“In my mind, there’s a period of time in the ’70s where we started watching these romantic movies where these two characters are so beautiful and woven so closely together and then you undo the braid right in front of you that you just can’t believe it, like The Way We Were, Love Story, Kramer vs. Kramer. And so those are the ones I think, because I love those movies…just hit those emotional touches that those movies hit me in the stomach and hit me.”
In terms of contemporary influences, Swift has turned into arthouse fare.
“I think in terms of recent films that I liked that might have given way to the production of this one, I would say ‘Marriage Story’ has been really annoying for several months. And ‘The Memorabilia’ part one and two, Joanna Hogg movies. I had made the short film already in The time I went and saw ‘The Souvenir Part II,’ and the fact that it’s about this young woman who is so heartbroken and hopeless and then makes something…that’s exactly what I want to see in a movie.”
She also revealed why “All Too Well” took 10 years to conceive.
“For me, the song was very difficult because it was about something that was very timely for me,” she said. “I was going to have a really hard time performing it at the time. I had to really force myself to focus on other things to try and get over it during the tour. So there wouldn’t be a world where I could make a visual element to that song at the time. I needed 10 years of meditation back in time to know what I’d do to even tell a version of that story visually. And I’m so grateful I was able to do this with some crazy stroke of all these different twists of fate.”
Swift also explained the significance of the “mantle” from the video, which has become a favorite topic for fans to discuss.
“Basically, the scarf is a metaphor,” she said. “And we switched it to red because red is a very important color on this album, which is called ‘red.’ And I think when I say it’s a metaphor, I’m just going to stop.”
Swift also described how Dylan O’Brien’s portrayal of him was so poignant that although it “highlights” Sadie Sink’s character, she still finds herself rooting for him as well.
“I know it’s a problem,” she said, “but watching it, I’m like, ‘He’s very charismatic,'” she said.
“All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” was released in November 2021, along with a 10-minute extended version of the song released on “Red (Taylor’s Version)”. The stars Sink and O’Brien portray an age-gap relationship that mirrors the song’s lyrics. Swift previously screened and discussed the film at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The viral music video, along with performing the full 10-minute version on “Saturday Night Live,” helped Swift win Guinness World Records for the longest song to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After winning the VMA for All Too Well, Swift announced in her acceptance speech that she will be releasing her next album, “Midnights,” on October 21.