While pop superstar Taylor Swift might make headlines for her part in the upcoming movie adaptation of “The Giver,” producers want to manage everyone’s expectations: She actually has a very small role in the film.
“It always makes us laugh when people announce ‘Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep — and Taylor Swift,’” joked producer Nikki Silver, at the Library of Congress on Monday. Silver was on stage with “The Giver” author Lois Lowry to promote the film adaptation of the best-selling dystopian young adult novel, which will hit theaters on Aug. 15.
Given that Swift has worldwide name recognition, it’s no surprise she gets third billing next to the A-list actors. Sure enough, in the crowd during the event on Monday (mostly made up of class field trips), the room started audibly buzzing when Lowry suddenly told Silver, “Talk about Taylor Swift.”
So, Silver told everyone the story about how Swift was cast for the part of Rosemary. In the book, Rosemary plays the former “receiver of memory,” the job of the book’s main character, Jonas. Rosemary appears only in flashbacks, and for a few very brief scenes.
Silver explained that producers initially — and coincidentally — wrote the character as someone who played the piano, before Swift was even in the conversation. In fact, they had auditioned several other actresses for the part. Then the producers saw Swift in concert last year; right then, (perhaps during this wildly emotional piano performance?) a light bulb went off.
“She’s a very soulful, interesting young woman and we had this very out-of-the box idea that maybe it would make sense that she could be our Rosemary,” Silver said. “And she’s fantastic. I’ve spent a lot of time with her, and she had just been looking to dip her toe slightly in acting…”
“She doesn’t sing in the movie,” Lowry interjected at this point.
“She doesn’t sing in the movie,” Silver clarified. “But she does play a little piano, which we had written for that character before we hired her.”
Swift flew to South Africa for a week to film, and spent a lot of time with Jeff Bridges, as the two shared scenes (with Swift in a brunette wig). Silver says Swift, an acting novice, did “a really wonderful job.”
“She was interested, we were interested,” Silver said. “It was one of things that was timing and just happened.”