It’s Sadie Sink’s go-to sad song.
To film emotional scenes, every actor has their own methods to get in character. Some stars cry on cue, while others need a little sonic inspiration to build up those emotions. Recently, Taylor Swift revealed that on the set of her All Too Well short film, she played a certain Phoebe Bridgers song to help her lead actress Sadie Sink access sadness in some heavy scenes.
“She also had this song that she says always makes her cry, which is ‘Savior Complex’ by Phoebe Bridgers,” Swift said in a recent interview with The Banshees of Inisherin director, Martin McDonagh.
The two directors sat-down for Variety’s Directors on Directors series. During their conversation, Swift detailed her directorial approach for her debut short film, All Too Well. The nearly 15-minute film is inspired by Swift’s song, “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version), which is theorized to be about her previous relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Sink and Dylan O’Brien star as a couple in the short film.
The Bridgers song mention came about after McDonagh referred to a scene in his film where his lead actor, Colin Farrell, gave a powerful performance. The Banshees of Inisherin, which was recently nominated for five Golden Globes, follows the aftermath of two life-long friends after their friendship abruptly ends.
McDonagh said Farrell’s performance reminded him of Sink’s in All Too Well and asked Swift how she handled those emotional scenes with the actor. That’s when Swift mentioned “Savior Complex.”
“I had a few conversations with her about how she likes to work in those kind of intense, emotive scenes. And I think she does a lot of prep work on her own,” Swift said.
Swift also noted that McDonagh’s wife, the director-actor-and-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, directed the video for “Savior Complex.” This prompted McDonagh to respond, “Yep. Phoebe did. The two Phoebes.”
Swift then reiterated the importance of playing “Savior Complex” when filming. “We ended up playing that song on set, giving Sadie room for a while,” she said. “We wanted her to look like she’d been crying and the kind of body heave of that.”
The artist connections have come full circle as Swift tapped Bridgers to be one of her opening acts on The Eras tour and McDonagh plans to see the show. Swift had the best response to McDonagh’s interest in her tour.
“You and Phoebe can come, and it’ll be a blast,” she said.