I like being surprised by someone when I walk into an interview.
I do not pay much attention to pop music of any kind at this point. I have a few trusted friends who recommend things to me that I might like listening to, and I have older artists whose new work I’ll pick up because I’m a fan, and every now and then, something punches through the haze of pop culture and catches my attention. For the most part, though, I know names more than I know the actual sound, and that was certainly the case with Taylor Swift.
I know who she is. I know she’s very young. I know she has a reputation for writing songs about dudes who have done her wrong. Beyond that, she’s not really on my radar. That’s not a negative judgment on my part… it’s just a confession that when it comes to blind spots, she occupies one of mine.
So when we sat down at the recent press day for “The Lorax” to talk about her work in the movie as Audrey, the girl whose obsession with trees kicks off the quest by Ted (Zac Efron) to find one for her, I walked in a blank slate. I was there to talk to an actor about her latest film, end of story.
And I walked out a little smitten, truth be told.
Sure, she’s adorable in person, but more than that, she struck me as someone with a real sense of self, sharp and poised and funny. If this is the charisma she brings to things, then she may have a career in film as well as music. I have no idea how much of a priority film is to her. I don’t know if this is an occasional thing that she enjoys, or if it’s a real vocation for her, something she plans to pursue.
But I do know this… I meet a lot of people, of all ages, working in many different parts of the entertainment industry, and it is a small percentage of them who are able to muster the sort of energy and charm and focus that I saw from her during not just my interview but everything she did that afternoon.
“The Lorax” opens this Friday in theaters everywhere.