Why Taylor Swift’s ‘The Giver’ Cameo Worked

One very common reaction to moviegoers who saw the film adaptation of The Giver in theaters was: “Wait, was that Taylor Swift?” And as any moviegoer who immediately Googled the answer on their way out of the theater can tell you: yes, yes it was!

Swift had a little-known cameo in the film adaptation of The Giver, which received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. The last time that Swift almost had a role in a live-action film was in 2012, when she was cast as Eponym in the film adaptation of Les Miserable but was quickly replaced with theater actress Samantha Barks after extreme backlash from theater fans. This particular cameo, however, did not draw much (if any!) ire and in fact many audiences did not realize it was Taylor Swift until the end credits. So why did her cameo in The Giver work? Let’s look at four reasons why!

She didn’t look like Taylor Swift
One of the problems with cameo roles is that celebrities have famous faces, and it can be difficult for audiences to make a disconnect between a character and a celebrity—regardless of how good their acting might be. For her role in The Giver, Swift donned a brown wig that looked nothing like her normal curly blonde locks. This gave her a completely different appearance, especially when coupled with the demure outfit worn by Rosemary in the film.

She played music—but not her signature instrument
Although Swift can actually play the piano and other instruments, she is best known for her guitar playing. In The Giver, Swift stuck to playing a lovely tune on the piano, which was a beautiful and touching moment in the film. If she had been using one of her signature instruments, it would have taken the film into ridiculous territory.

Taylor Swift as 'Rosemary'
Taylor Swift as ‘Rosemary’

The role isn’t extensive
The character of Rosemary doesn’t appear on screen for more than perhaps 2 minutes, tops—this worked in Swift’s favor for several reasons. One, it means that audiences usually didn’t have enough time to figure out that the actress was Taylor Swift, which may have pulled them out of the film; two, it means that the film wasn’t oversaturated with her cameo, which could have dragged the overall production down. A good cameo lasts just long enough to work and no longer—and Swift’s role thankfully didn’t overstay its welcome.



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