Following the huge success of “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax,” where she voiced one of the characters, Taylor Swift is mapping out her movie career. Taylor told us that she had been reading scripts in recent years and looking out for roles that she could be passionate about and which could be worth taking a break (from her hectic music career schedule) for.
Below are excerpts from our recent interview with the singer-songwriter:
What kind of movies would you like to do?
I’ve been reading scripts for about five years— just kind of under the radar, asking my agents to please send me everything that might be good. In my free time I just read and read. When I look at acting careers that I really admire, I see that it’s been a precise decision-making process for these people. They make decisions based on what they love and they do only the things that they are passionate about. They play only characters that they can’t stop thinking about.
If I got a script that I thought was OK and a character that I kind of liked and could pull off but wasn’t obsessed with, that would be unfair to someone else who might be obsessed with that character. So if I do a movie, you will know I cannot think of anything other than that character. I’m such a fan of great writing and great storytelling. I’m looking for great, powerful writing behind whatever cast is surrounding it, whatever director is steering it—that would all be peripheral to the fact that the story is brilliant and has to be told.
Who among today’s actors do you look up to?
Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite, and Emma Stone is one of my best friends. We’ve been best friends since we were 17.
Daniel Day-Lewis is so impressive, but I also love how, when Will Smith does something, everyone stands at attention. He’s made such brilliant decisions. He’s so charismatic.
Have you taken acting lessons?
I actually started out in theater. When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, auditioning for Broadway was my dream. I went to several auditions in New York. I was always going there for vocal and acting lessons…and for auditions, where you stand in line in a long hallway with a lot of people. (I’ve always been freakishly tall, like a giant.)
After a few years of auditioning in New York and not getting anything, I started writing songs. But I never lost my love for theater.
I’ve had an acting coach for a few years. I like getting to do things like host “Saturday Night Live.” I had a tiny part in “Valentine’s Day” where Taylor Lautner and I got to ad lib this entire scene. We got to make up our characters and everything, which was really fun. And I just feel so lucky to have been a part of “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” because it’s interesting getting to do voice work.
Can you talk about your seemingly easy rise to success?
I grew up on a Christmas tree farm. I put my first album out when I was 16. I’m 22 now. I had been writing songs since I was 12. That was when I discovered that that was what I loved doing more than anything in the world, and I’d be so lucky if I got to do that all my life. So it was a series of begging and pleading and just annoying my parents to the point where they finally moved the family to Nashville.
I got a job as a songwriter in a publishing company there. There’s a lot of songwriting in Nasville, unlike in any other town. You have an office and you set up writing appointments every day. That was my first job.
I was 14 at the time. I would go to school during the day and then write songs at night. It was kind of like having a double life. Eventually, going through meeting after meeting, doing showcase after showcase, I got a record deal with a tiny indie record label. I got to write all the songs on my record and then put out my first album in 2006. I went on a radio tour, where you go from door to door of radio stations and ask them to play your music. This was all on country radio.
The next record I made was when I was 17. I wrote a song sitting on my bedroom floor called “Love Story” that we put out as the first single and it ended up being No. 1 all over the world. That was my first song that ever went on pop radio, so that was kind of the breakout album. That was also the one that ended up being the Grammy album of the year.
What kind of interaction do you have with your fans? Any strange encounters?
Yeah, it gets a little strange sometimes, but it’s amazing. The passion level is so wonderful. When I look out at a crowd of people, and sometimes we were lucky enough to play stadiums on our recent tour, it was an overwhelming experience because you’re looking out at 60,000 people. They all have ticket stubs in their pockets with your name on it. It’s a crazy feeling but then you look out and like a lot of people are crying, weeping, especially on the world tour…It was such an amazing experience, being in countries where they don’t speak English as primary language and they’re crying…and they know all the words.
The world tour was one of my favorite things about this past year, but I’ve noticed a lot more reaction that sometimes when I run into fans in public, they’ll start crying. It’s so sweet. It used to start off going, “Omigod, let’s get a picture.” Now they just make weeping sounds which is really very sweet and I love it. I think it’s endearing.
What is it like when you, Emma Stone, and your other friends get together?
I cook and Emma bakes. Those are our specialties. We just talk about our lives. That’s how I feel when I’m with friends that I’ve had for years. Those are the people that I can just rant to. These are the people who know me the best. It’s crazy with all of my friends having such busy schedules and me always being gone. When you do see your friends, you value the time with them.
Can you talk about your first love?
Omigosh, it’s so hard because I’ve considered three different people (as my first love).
I dated a guy in high school for a while and I think that was, in a way, first love-ish. But then there’s the first time that you love someone more than you’ve ever loved anything, ever. That’s a different thing. Then there’s the time after that where you feel like you’ve loved a man more than anyone you ever loved in your life and that must be your first love because that must be the only time you’ve ever felt that kind of love. I think your life is full of first loves because every time you love someone new, you love them in a different way.
When you meet someone that you’re attracted to, do you go, “Here’s a song”?
That can happen. I get inspired by the smallest or the biggest things. You meet someone and you wonder if you’ll ever see them again. I could write so many songs about that. I have written so many songs about that. Wait till you hear my next record, it’s all about that.
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