Ethan Hawke Recalls Thinking “We’re Going to Meet the Queen” Before Taylor Swift’s “Fortnight” Music Video

Ethan Hawke took a moment to recount how he ended up in Taylor Swift’s “Fortnight” music video.

The Wildcat director stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to promote the film, which stars his daughter, Maya Hawke. Ahead of their conversation about the project, the late night host asked Hawke about his experience working on the music video alongside his Dead Poets Society co-star and lifelong friend, Josh Charles.

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“Well, Stephen, I’m very popular. People seek me out. It just happens,” the multihyphenate joked to Stephen Colbert, before adding, “We got this call: ‘Taylor’s releasing an album, The Tortured Poets Department. And I think she wanted to hide a little easter egg about Dead Poets Society in it.”

He recalled walking through the airport with Charles and seeing all the young people wearing Swift’s Eras Tour merchandise and thinking, “We’ve got something on them.”

“We’re going to meet the Queen ourselves,” the Oscar nominee shared. “For Josh and I, we laughed ourselves silly the whole day. We felt like the biggest rock stars in the world. Josh is different than me. I tried to look low-key it. Josh, we got to Taylor’s camp. He’s like, ‘Hey, you guys got any sushi?’ ‘Oh, let’s get some sushi in here right now.’ We had the best sushi I ever had in my life.”

Hawke explained he signed a nondisclosure agreement when he signed onto the music video, so he wasn’t able to tell his two teenage daughters that he was going to meet her. But they were not happy when they found out.

“The truth is when they did find out, the look on their face was one of profound disappointment,” he admitted, noting that they felt like, “‘Don’t pay attention to my dad. My dad’s an idiot. You should be calling me.’ Taylor belongs to them. I can’t have that on them. So I had to low-key it.”

The “Fortnight” music video is the first one to come out of Swift’s newest album, The Tortured Poets Department. The four-minute video sees Swift and Post Malone play ex-lovers, who find themselves continuously drawn to each other. Hawke and Charles appear halfway through as two scientists, running tests on Swift’s character before Post Malone lets her go.

Following the release of the album, which has broken several records, the two musicians praised one another. In a track-by-track experience for Amazon Music, Swift explained the meaning of some songs on Tortured Poets, including “Fortnight,” which she said “exhibits a lot of the common themes” on the album.

“One of which being fatalism — longing, pining away, lost dreams. I think that it’s a very fatalistic album in that there are lots of very dramatic lines about life or death. ‘I love you, it’s ruining my life.’ These are very hyperbolic, dramatic things to say but it’s that kind of album,” she said. “It’s about a traumatic, artistic tragic kind of take on love and loss. ‘Fortnight,’ I always imagined that it took place in this American town where the American dream you thought would happen to you didn’t. You ended up not with the person that you loved and now you just have to live with that everyday, wondering what would’ve been maybe seeing them out. And that’s a pretty tragic concept really so I was just writing from that perspective.”

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