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Taylor Swift: future movie star?

February 10, 2010 |  5:15 pm

Swi Taylor Swift makes her film debut this weekend with the ensemble romantic comedy "Valentine's Day," playing a sweet, vacuous high-schooler. The 20-year-old is hardly the first musician of her generation (or any generation) to make the jump to features.

Swift's sort-of contemporary Carrie Underwood has announced that she will make her acting debut in "Soul Surfer," based on the true-life surfer Bethany Hamilton,  who lost her arm in a shark attack. (Underwood plays a church youth counselor.) And the list of stars who've tried it before is a long one. Barbara Streisand ("Funny Girl"), Dolly Parton ("9 to 5") Madonna ("Vision Quest") and Beyonce  ("Austin Powers in Goldmember") all made the jump to the big screen after establishing robust musical careers, not to mention the less successful segues like, ahem, Britney Spears'. (For a complete look at songstresses who remade themselves as thespians, check out the photo gallery below.)

Swift So how did Swift come to be involved?

Garry Marshall, the veteran filmmaker who directed "Valentine's Day," heard of her interest in a role, so he and his writers decided to come up with a story line for Swift. Taylor Lautner (whom Swift is reported to have briefly dated) also wanted to be in the film,  so Marshall had Swift's character fall for Lautner. (To come up with plot points, the director queried Lautner about his Minnesota upbringing. "What were you remembered for?" Marshall asked. Lautner was a hurdler, so that's what the director put in the film.)

Marshall admits he was nervous when he first met the tween pop idol. "I don't always know how to relate in the right way," says Marshall, who, at 75, is a mere 55 years old than Swift. 

But he did use some tricks that can help a director bond with talent. "I said, 'Let's start off on a good foot. My lucky number is 13 and so is yours. She said, ‘It is!' Suddenly we were pals forever. She has e-mail, everything with the number 13 in it. I showed up to direct her in a shirt with 13 on it.  I have to figure out a way to get along. I don't talk the musical terms, but she was wonderful."

-- Rachel Abramowitz

Photo: Taylor Swift. Credit:  Peter Kramer / Associated Press

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