“The Giver” — based on the 1993 Lois Lowry young adult novel — hasn’t been well reviewed, but at least there’s a silver lining to this parable about a dystopian future society. It comes in the form (as most happy things do) of Taylor Swift, who appears in a brief cameo as the original chosen one meant to save mankind. And Taylor more than holds her own with a weepy performance opposite a cast of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Katie Holmes. At “The Giver” premiere earlier this week, we gleaned as many Swift anecdotes as we could.
(1) Taylor Swift wore a brown wig in “The Giver” to erase her pop star image. “We just tried to make her distinctive and un-Taylor-like,” says the film’s director Phillip Noyce. “Being vulnerable comes very naturally to her, because she’s a conduit of emotions in her work. So she just has to go to the place, as I kept reminding her, that she goes to when she writes.”
(2) The producers of the film pitched Swift on the movie backstage at her concert in LA. “It was funny, I found out she was involved the same time she found out she was involved,” says music manager (and Justin Bieber wingman) Scooter Braun, who is an executive producer on the film. “They came to talk to her, and me and her manager were hanging out backstage.”
(3) Swift had a thing for a relative of the screenwriter. “Her first crush was my cousin,” says Michael Mitnick, who co-adapted the film. “I was the proxy onset. She started texting him through me.” Swift’s seventh-grade sweetheart was Tobin Mantic, now an actor himself. “He had a crush on her too. They were in middle school. It was a very innocent thing.”
(4) She jammed with the cast at their Cape Town hotel.
Swift plays Rosemary, the first child chosen to interact with the Giver, and her character appears in flashback form at the piano. Coincidentally, the cast would go home and jam (and drink) together around the piano after a long day on set. “People would take turns and play the piano and sing,” actor Alexander Skarsgard told Time. “I was better on the couch with my beer, howling along. It was really lovely, actually.”
(5) Don’t ask author Lois Lowry for her favorite Taylor Swift song. “My grandchildren are Taylor Swift fans,” she says. “I tend to listen to classical music.”