Taylor Swift enlists ‘Dead Poets’ Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles for Fortnight video starring Post Malone

Video dropped as Swift’s 11th record ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ became the most-streamed album on Spotify in a single day

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 20 April 2024 09:24 BST
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Taylor Swift has enlisted Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles, the stars of the 1989 film Dead Poets Society, for her new music video.

The classic movie was released the year Swift was born, and seems to have inspired the title for her latest album, The Tortured Poets Department.

In the video for “Fortnight”, Swift wakes up in a white gown. She’s chained to a bed in an asylum, before she is cut down and goes to the mirror, wiping her face to reveal tattoos.

Now wearing a black gown, she walks into an office-like room filled with typewriters, finding rapper Post Malone, with whom she sings on the track. The duo embrace on a lone highway and are caught in a tornado of loose paper.

She is then operated on by Hawke and Charles as scientists wearing lab coats embroidered with their Dead Poets Society names, as a machine measuring her brain waves spells out a lyric from the song: “I love you, it’s ruining my life.”

Hawke starred as Todd Anderson in the 1989 Oscar-winning film, alongside Charles as Knox Overstreet, with the cast also including late acting great Robin Williams as John Keating.

1989 is the fifth studio album from Swift and also marks the year she was born.

“I’m still laughing from getting to work with the coolest guys on earth, Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles (tortured poets, meet your colleagues from down the hall, the dead poets),” Swift wrote on social media.

She continued: “When I was writing the ‘Fortnight’ music video, I wanted to show you the worlds I saw in my head that served as the backdrop for making this music.

“Pretty much everything in it is a metaphor or a reference to one corner of the album or another. For me, this video turned out to be the perfect visual representation of this record and the stories I tell in it.”

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The video features a black dog aimlessly walking around the science lab, which could be a reference to her track “The Black Dog”.

Swift said that Post Malone “blew me away on set as our tortured tragic hero”, and she also praised “unfathomably brilliant” cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and her team of “dream collaborators”.

The US pop superstar surprised her fans on Friday by releasing a secret “double album” instalment of The Tortured Poets Department, which appears to be filled with references to past relationships.

The 11th studio album from the singer-songwriter became Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day, while Swift also became the most-streamed artist in a single day in Spotify history, the platform said.

British group Florence + The Machine also joined Swift on her 11th studio album, with the two collaborating on a track called Florida!!!

Lead singer Florence Welch said on Instagram: “Me and my ghosts we had a hell of a time @taylorswift. Honoured to be in this department.”

Swift’s friend and long-term collaborator, music producer Jack Antonoff, also praised the album.

“Love this album more than I can say…. love you all very much… more later very overwhelmed… love you Taylor,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Swift, who is known for taking inspiration from past relationships for her music, seemingly references her break-up with British actor Joe Alwyn and The 1975 star Matty Healy in lyrics throughout the album.

Follow the latest updates here.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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