Taylor Swift says she never planned to be a director.
It was announced on Friday that the singer-songwriter would try her hand at feature film writing and directing for Searchlight Pictures. The news comes after Swift directed her acclaimed short film “All Too Well” which could qualify for an Oscar nomination.
For the Grammy winner, this wasn’t a direction she expected her career to take initially.
“This actually came out of necessity,” she told director Martin McDonagh for Variety‘s Directors on Directors. “I was writing my videos for years, and I had a video that was a very specific concept I had written [2019’s “The Man”], which was that I wanted to be prosthetically turned into a man and live my life as a man.”
It turns out that Swift originally planned to leave the directing to other female directors.
“And I wanted a female director to direct it. And the few that I reached out to were fortunately booked. We like it when women work. So I was like, ‘I could do it, maybe.’ And when I did direct, I just thought, ‘This is actually more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined,” she recalled.
When asked whether it was an accident by McDonagh, she admitted it wasn’t initially in the cards.
“It was, sort of. I think I’ve directed about 10 music videos and now one short. I’m just inching my way along toward taking on more responsibility,” she continued.
This isn’t her first brush with film, however, as Swift has had a handful of acting roles in the past including in 2019’s “Cats”. Her experience with acting has helped inform how she wants to direct.
“Every aspect of my job as a singer has affected the way that I am as a director. I’ve occasionally been in a film for very short periods of time. I really want someone to feel comfortable. If they want to be able to look at the monitor, or they want to know how it’s set up, they should be able to,” explained the 32-year-old. “But I think it’s helpful when people know what story it is they’re telling. I’ve been part of things where you didn’t know the script, and no one knew what the story was.”
Not wishing to repeat the experience for people who work with her, she expressed a desire to make sure everyone was on the same page.
“And so as much as I like to be secretive about projects I’m making, you have to trust the people that you’re making something with to let them know this is exactly why this matters,” she added.
As for her music, while Swift has been writing about heartbreak all her life, her age and newfound wisdom have drastically changed her outlook when confronting this topic in her music.
“I definitely feel more free to create now. And I’m making more albums at a more rapid pace than I ever did before, because I think the more art you create, hopefully the less pressure you put on yourself. It’s just a phase I’m in right now. And everybody’s different,” she said. “There are people who put an album out every five years and it’s brilliant and that’s the way they work. And I have full respect for that. But I’m happier when I’m making things more often.”