Taylor Swift’s gender-bending transformation in her self-directed “The Man” music video is still mind-boggling a week out from its release. Over the course of five hours each day on set, makeup artist Bill Corso and his team turned Swift into her finance bro alter-ego, but up until now, we’ve only seen photographs of the process.
On Friday, we finally got a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot, and it’s equal parts adorable and disturbing. I couldn’t keep a stupid grin off my face as I watched Swift — in full makeup as her male counterpart — speaking in her normal Taylor Swift voice as she asks her movement coach Stephen Galloway how to best serve toxic masculinity. Behind all the facial prosthetics, eyebrow wigs and brown color contacts, my brain knows that Taylor Swift is there, but all that my heart sees is a sophomore theater major named Chase or Tyler or Cody who cracks jokes during dress rehearsal and makes a big deal out of smoking a stage cigar for the first time.
“I literally don’t know what I’m doing at all,” Swift chortles apologetically while they’re shooting the subway scene as the ladies sitting next to her giggle. Look at this big lovable goofball, I just want to ruffle his hair, I think, before remembering that the same woman who sang “White Horse” and wore this outfit is hiding underneath that mountain of gel.
Whatever you thought of Swift’s acting style in Cats, The Giver or even The Lorax, this is her best performance to date — not as the music video character Tyler Swift, but as the backstage clown adored by everyone’s mom, screaming “Epic!” when the day wraps up while clutching a Starbucks iced latte. I look forward to seeing more of his/her work.