The Joe Alwyn Group Chat That Inspired Taylor Swift's Album Is Not as Active as We Thought

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Remember when Taylor Swift announced The Tortured Poets Department, and everyone immediately started drawing connections with her ex, Joe Alwyn? Well, Alwyn's bestie, Andrew Scott, is opening up about their influence on the album's title.

Let's recap a little before we get into Scott's new comments. Before the album's release on April 19, Taylor Swift announced the title of her long-anticipated 11th studio album at the Grammys 2024 on February 5. Just a few days later, fans caught wind of the project's name being a reference to a group chat Joe Alwyn shares with fellow actors Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott called "The Tortured Man Club." (In case you need a refresher on how these three met, Scott and Mescal acted together in All of Us Strangers, and Alwyn was Scott's costar in Catherine Called Birdy.)

Joe Alwyn and Andrew Scott at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2020 in London.

Since he was the one to set up the chat in the first place, Andrew Scott was asked about their group chat inspiring the title of Swift's album in a new interview with Variety and how they took it and, well, it's not as active as one might have assumed.

Scott explained to the publication that he had set up the chat to connect Alwyn and Mescal since Alwyn had been tapped to star in the TV adaption of Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends, and Mescal had already led another one of Rooney's TV adaptations, Normal People.

"So they were about to play these tortured characters, and I had played a tortured character in Fleabag. It wasn't about our own characteristics!" the actor explained, seemingly alluding to fan discourse. He also added that the chat quickly died out. "I think there were three texts, like, 'Hey, guys.' You know those groups that you set up, and they just collapse?" We sure do.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills.

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Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills.
Christopher Polk/NBC/Getty Images

Elsewhere in the interview, Scott opened up about Swift further, calling TTPD "sensational" and admitting that the two have also struck up a friendship. "I texted her yesterday to say how amazing [The Tortured Poets Department] is," Scott said. "I think she is just a force of nature, just an extraordinary human, and this album is really, really amazing." (Scott even picked "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived" as his favorite song on the record.)


Related: Taylor Swift Says She Was “Lonely” While Working on Folklore


Prior to the album's release, a source close to Alwyn had admitted that it was "undeniable" that the name of the album was indeed a reference to the three actors' WhatsApp group chat. "Taylor knocked him for the name of this when they were together. She didn't want people to think that it had anything to do with her, so when he spoke out about it, she was, of course, bothered," the source claimed.

Given the context clues, many fans expected TTPD to mainly center around Swift and Alwyn's relationship and eventual split in 2023, which even the source close to Alwyn considered. "She writes about her past using code and points of reference. It may just be that she is reflecting on their time together, and he is hoping it is nothing more. If it is a diss album, that is shady," the source added. “He helped her with songwriting on her past album, so it will really come as a shock to him if she talks about their breakup, as it is something he has not spoken of at all.”

As we know now that the album is out, Alwyn does seem to have inspired certain parts of the album but he's not as central in it as fans once initially theorized. As Teen Vogue's Claire Dodson points out, TTPD actually “re-contextualizes Midnights as the true Joe breakup album.”


Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue


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