How Taylor Swift’s ‘Biggest Heartbreak Anthem’ Ended Up in That Pivotal ‘Fall Guy’ Sequence

[Editor’s note: The following interview contains minor spoilers for “The Fall Guy.”]

David Leitch’s “The Fall Guy” has it all. Drama, action, romance, Taylor Swift. As the film’s Super Bowl trailer delighted in telling potential audience members, the upcoming Ryan Gosling- and Emily Blunt-starring feature is packed with a little something for everyone. And, yes, that includes Gosling crying to Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well” during one of the film’s funniest (and most emotional) sequences, one that’s on full display in that second trailer.

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But it wasn’t always going to be Swift’s song that made Gosling’s character cry. During a recent interview with producer Kelly McCormick (who is also Leitch’s wife), she revealed to IndieWire there was another choice on the table. (And stay tuned for more from McCormick on the making of “The Fall Guy,” dropping on IndieWire next week.)

“It wasn’t actually [always going to be a Swift song], but it wasn’t going to be the song that we were playing [during shooting], because it was not right for their romance,” McCormick told IndieWire. “I think it was a Harry Nilsson song and it was just too, I don’t know, sappy and not modern enough. [We wanted to get] back to the modern.”

The film, based loosely on the 1980s television series of the same name, follows Gosling as seasoned Hollywood stunt performer Colt Seavers. When we first meet Colt, he’s at the top of his game and in the middle of a romance with charming camera operator Jody Moreno (Blunt).

A terrible accident rockets Colt out of his industry (and out of his relationship with Jody), but when he’s asked to come back to the movies to support Jody’s first-time directorial outing, he can’t say no. But, man, is his heart broken, and he tries to work through his feelings after he’s reunited with Jody. He does that, of course, by crying and singing along to Swift’s “All Too Well” in a parked car. Been there!

“In a test screening, we got a Swiftie in the focus group, and she said, ‘This is exactly what a Swiftie wants to see Taylor Swift’s song in,'” the producer said. “I don’t know if other Swifties feel that way or not, because there’s a comedy to it, but it is playing for what it really is, which is, to me, the biggest heartbreak anthem in the world and best. Taylor’s hard to put in a movie because her songs are so evocative. They’re stories. So how do you put something where it’s about dancing in a kitchen and how you really feel about all of those things [into a movie]?”

But Leitch and McCormick did find the perfect spot for the sequence, a rare quiet moment in the middle of the sure-to-be blockbuster. “Have you been crying to Taylor Swift?,” Jody asks a tear-soaked Colt, and oh boy, has he ever.

“But in this instance, there’s not a lot of happening [in the scene], and he’s just reminiscing about how much he’s lost and it works perfectly,” she said. “It was actually my idea, I hate to toot my own horn, usually David chimes in at this point and says, ‘It was Kelly’s idea!’ Somehow I convinced them all to try it. Then once we tried it, it was like there was no going back. We chose it before she had her extra, extra, extra moment. Then it was insane, she soars higher heights than I thought were even possible, because she was already at the highest.”

During his April 13 hosting turn on “Saturday Night Live,” Gosling again channeled Swift (and yes, co-star Blunt was there, too), with Swift herself later hailing the jam on her Instagram account (she joked in an IG reel posted after the episode, “Watch me accidentally catch myself singing this version on tour. This monologue is everything!”). McCormick is taking that as a sign that the singer is into the inclusion.

“It’s just that magic,” McCormick said. “It’s pretty awesome. I think she likes it. She [Instagrammed] about ‘SNL.’ … I was so nervous. But apparently she saw the second trailer and loved it, the one where she’s all over it. Then she saw [‘SNL’] and posted, [so] I think she’s in on it, I think she’s liking it. It’s amazing. I’m like, pinch me.”

A Universal Pictures release, “The Fall Guy” hits theaters on Friday, May 3.

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