Taylor Swift Pays Tribute to ‘Dead Poets Society’ With ‘Tortured Poets Department’ ‘Fortnight’ Music Video Stars

Taylor Swift debuted her “Fortnight” music video on YouTube Friday evening, along with lyric videos for both that song and the rest of her new surprise double-album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” The video features “Dead Poets Society” actors Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles in cameos, whom she joked about in social media posts where she shared the creative inspiration behind the striking, largely black-and-white clip.

“I’m still laughing from getting to work with the coolest guys on earth, Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles,” Swift wrote — perhaps also chuckling at her own self-referential cameos. She then added an explicit nod to the clear inspiration for her new album’s title: “(tortured poets, meet your colleagues from down the hall, the dead poets).”

The music video has a complex narrative, ranging from Swift being experimented on by Charles and Hawke in a Frankenstein-esque laboratory to Swift sitting across from Post Malone and connecting over typewriters — with each of their machines emitting some of the video’s only color.

Talking about the video as a whole, Swift noted that it serves as a bit of a Rosetta Stone when it comes to references to the rest of the new album.

“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,” Swift explained.

Going to the notably Easter-egg-loving singer’s reputation, she added, “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.”

Swift wrote that the track’s featured artist, Post Malone, “blew me away on set as our tortured tragic hero,” expressing her gratitude for the rapper/singer and “everything he put into this collaboration.”

The esteemed team included cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work as director of photography on “Killers of the Flower Moon” and other Martin Scorsese films. He’s also been behind the camera on “Barbie,” “Brokeback Mountain” and numerous other acclaimed projects.

He also served as cinematographer on three of Swift’s 2020 music videos: “The Man,” “Cardigan” and “Willow.” Swift directed “Fortnight” herself, as well as those earlier videos.

“I still can’t believe I get to work with the unfathomably brilliant Rodrigo Prieto on cinematography,” Swift wrote, “and my team of dream collaborators: Ethan Tobman (production design), Chancler Haynes (editor), Anthony Dimino (1st AD), Jil Hardin (producer) and Dom Thomas (executive producer),” Swift wrote.

She also credited more of those who helped put together the video, including the visual effects team.

“Parliament aced the VFX as always. Joseph Cassell, Lorrie Turk and Jemma Muradian made these tortured looks come to life,” Swift wrote. “The entire crew made this a dream to shoot. Thank you to everyone involved and everyone who has watched it!!”

It’s worth noting Swift is writing and intends to direct a feature film for Searchlight Pictures.

You can watch the full “Fortnight” music video at the top of this story.

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