After winning the MTV Video Music Award for video of the year, Taylor Swift brought “All Too Well: The Short Film” to the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 9 for a discussion in front of many devoted fans. How committed? The first group to line up arrived at midnight, the second at 5am. — and they didn’t have tickets yet, but they were hoping the call would answer their prayers, or they’d catch a glimpse of Swift passing by.
The talk, moderated by TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, focused on Swift’s directorial process and looking at her music from a different perspective. It was also paired with the 35mm premiere of All Too Well, which she wrote, directed, produced and stars in.
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The headline news? Deep into the conversation, Bailey asked if Swift would be interested in making feature films one day, and she said yes, if she could find the right material.
“I’d like to keep taking baby steps forward,” he said. “And I think I’m now in a place where the next step is not a baby step. It would be a commitment to make a film. And I feel like I would love the right opportunity to come along because I just absolutely love telling stories that way.”
When asked further about the features, he said, “If it was the right one, it would be such a privilege and an honor.”
Discussing the types of narratives she wants to explore, Swift said: “I think I’ll always want to tell human stories about human emotions. I never say never, but I can’t imagine myself filming an action series. If it happens one day, honestly, it’ll be funny character development, but at this point, I could see it in a more comedic, irreverent place. I don’t always see myself telling stories of extreme, gut-wrenching disappointment at your most formative age that wears you down emotionally for years, and then you have to grow the scar tissue to get on with your life and limp to your typewriter and write a novel about this. I think I have.”
Swift also discussed the films that influenced the “All Too Well” project.
“In my mind, there’s this period of time in the ’70s where we started seeing these romantic movies where these two characters are so beautifully, connected to each other and then they just unravel the braid right in front of you and you just can’t believe it. , such as “The Way We Were,” “Love Story,” “Kramer vs. Kramer”. And so I think those are the ones that I like, because I like those movies… I just hit those emotional tests that those movies just hit me in the stomach and hit me.”
As for modern influences, Swift turned to arthouse fare.
“I think in terms of modern movies that I loved that probably helped make this movie, I would say that ‘Marriage Story’ was really upset for months. And ‘The Souvenir’ parts one and two, the Joanna Hogg films. I had done the short film when I went and saw ‘The Souvenir Part II’ and the fact that it’s about this young woman who experiences this extreme sadness and despair and then does something … that’s exactly what I want to see in a film.”
She also revealed why the film ‘All Too Well’ took her 10 years to visualize.
“For me, the song was so hard because it was about something that was very relevant to me at the time,” he said. “I would have had a very hard time executing it at the time. I had to really like force myself to focus on other things to try to get through it during the tour. So there wouldn’t have been a world where I could have done a visual to that song at the time. I needed 10 years of hindsight to know what I would do to visually tell a version of this story. And I’m so grateful that I was able to do that with a crazy hit of all these different twists of fate.”
Swift also explained the significance of the “handkerchief” from the video, which has become a fan favorite topic of conversation.
“Basically, the scarf is a metaphor,” he said. “And we made it red because because red is a very important color in 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 performance of Him is so impressive that even though he’s “smoking” Sadie Sink’s Her, she still finds herself rooting for him as well.
“I know it’s problematic, but watching it, I’m like, ‘He’s so charismatic,'” she said. “He’s charismatic, he’s troubled, and I’m still rooting for them to address that, because he makes some charming points.”
“All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)” was released in November 2021, along with an extended, 10-minute version of the song released on “Red (Taylor’s Version)”. It stars Sink and O’Brien portraying a relationship with an age gap that reflects the song’s lyrics. Swift previously screened and discussed the film at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The viral music video, along with a performance of the full 10-minute version on “Saturday Night Live,” helped Swift win the World Guinness World Record for the longest song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After winning the VMA for “All Too Well,” Swift announced in her acceptance speech that she will release her next album, “Midnights,” on Oct. 21.
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