If you thought you caught a moment of the macabre in Taylor Swift’s new video for “Safe & Sound,” you’re dead right: turns out, a healthy part of the filming process took place in a historic cemetery. (Hey, “dead right”! Get it? Get it?! …Ow, stop hitting us!) And when Taylor sat down for a chat with MTV, she was quick to tell us how meaningful that graveyard scene was.
“That’s one of my favorite moments in the video,” she said. “There’s this wide shot where I’m just crumpled up, sitting on a gravestone. And it’s actually the grave site of a couple who lived, and died, in 1853.”
An odd choice for a “Hunger Games” tie in? Maybe not: the story takes place in a dystopian futureworld, but the post-apocalyptic landscape—and the lives of the people who live in it—has a distinctly Victorian feel. And for Taylor, the history of the place was a source of inspiration for a song that’s all about beginnings and endings.
“I’m such a history freak that I was sitting there thinking, What were their lives like?—and now here we are, hundreds of years later, filming a music video on their graves,” she said. “It’s really eerie, considering what the movie is about and how it deals with life and death.”
All in all, the morbid tone serves the video well—but if it looks like Taylor had the shivers during her time on-screen, it’s not because she was scared of ghosts.
“It was so cold!” she exclaimed. And not only was the singer trudging barefoot through a cold, damp forest near Nashville, her costume wasn’t exactly insulated: “I was wearing this 1920s vintage nightgown that didn’t provide much warmth.”
Still hungry for more news about this “Hunger Games”-inspired project? Keep watching to hear more about how Taylor and The Civil Wars settled on the video’s vibe (which Taylor says is her favorite, ever!) and check out her answers to questions from fans on Twitter about what it was like to shoot, how the rich symbolism from “The Hunger Games” permeated the process and how passionate she feels about the books that inspired it all.
What do you think of the cemetery setting in Taylor video?