American singer Taylor Swift made a rare public appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival to screen her short ‘All Too Well’ and discussed why the 10-minute song hit the big screen with filmmaker Mike Mills (“C’mon C’mon, “20th Century Women”).
According to Variety, Taylor informed the audience at the Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, “It’s not a music video, we approached everything differently.”
The notoriously private pop artist also revealed Easter eggs in the short, detailed her hopes of directing a feature film, and surprised fans with a surprise performance of “All Too Well” during an extensive interview.
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who were seated near the stage, were among many onlookers who sang enthusiastically, clapped and took videos of Swift during the long song. Mills noted that the 90-minute conversation felt like a concert due to the continual cheers from the enthusiastic crowd long before Swift pulled out her red guitar.
Going up on stage, he said, “Sorry, I’m not Taylor Swift.” By the way, how did Mills, who is best known for indie movies like “C’mon, C’mon,” end up moderating a Swift panel? She’s a die-hard fan of his 2019 short “I’m Easy to Find,” and she texted him “out of the blue.”
From a young age, Swift, 32, has been writing and singing her own music. She became interested in getting behind the camera after spending a lot of time on music video shoots. “I’ve always been curious,” she said.
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“I started to venture into editing [for music videos] and making changes and interfering…it started with interfering.” Swift said she sometimes felt out of depth while writing and directing “All Too Well: The Short Film.”
“I had this impostor syndrome in my head going, ‘No, you don’t do that. Other people do that who went to school to do that. ‘ Mills replied: ‘I didn’t go to school to do that. An assured Swift continued: “Oh! It’s fantastic to know that. It makes me feel better. Don’t you feel like it’s an amazing exercise in trusting your instincts? There’s so many decisions you have to make. Saying ‘I don’t know’ really isn’t an option most of the time.”
Mills disagreed, assuring Swift that directors don’t have to be correct all the time.
Swift suggested, “Maybe she’s just a director,” to which Mills replied, “Word.” Swift has been bitten by the movie bug and would ‘love’ to continue working in the industry.”
“It would be so fantastic to write and direct something…a feature film,” she said.
“I don’t see it bigger, in terms of scale. I loved making such an intimate film.” She called being on set “such a rewarding experience,” adding, “I’m really a secret agent, about people not finding out what we’re up to. Everything was [discussed using] code words. I’m so weird.”
To date, Swift has never detailed the origins of “All Too Well.” But she told the audience, “I wanted to make a film about an effervescent, curious young woman who ends up completely losing her footing.”
She explained, “You know when you’re walking in the ocean? ‘It’s so fun, the idea of going out so far that your feet don’t touch the ground, but you can get carried away,’ as the reported Variety.
The short features ‘Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink and ‘Teen Wolf’ Dylan O’Brien, who made a surprise appearance during Saturday’s presentation.
Sink portrays a younger Swift, while O’Brien’s role is said to be inspired by Swift’s ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal is 9 years older than Swift in real life. Swift, of course, kept quiet about that annoying detail, but O’Brien gave some insight into his first encounter with Swift.” I’ll never forget — you said, “We need this guy to be likeable even if he’s going to perform really unkind things,” O’Brien recalled.
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It’s such a nuanced perspective that Taylor has. It’s not black and white. It’s not a monster. “He’s just a narcissistic, selfish kid,” he said to loud applause. Although his character is much older, O’Brien notes, “he’s really a kid”.
Swift offered: “I wanted them to feel like falling together was inevitable and falling apart was just as inevitable. I wanted it to feel like there were forces. in game and they couldn’t help but collide or be dismantled.”
Swift also spoke about the underlying meaning of the character of Sink, who is a writer like Swift. Swift exclaimed, “That’s one of the narrative tricks I loved sprinkling on the short.”
The short film is teased from the start, with a literary phrase by Pablo Neruda: “Love is so short, oblivion is so long.” It is meant to allude to its inner author.
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Post expires at 6:03am on Thursday June 23rd, 2022