Animals wander through the jungle. The sun rises over Africa. Outside, actress Marjorie Finn (Taylor Swift) sits in her makeup chair, getting her hair fluffed for the scene, wearing a white blouse and khakis, she seems ready to train at a big box store to become a cashier than go on safari. She steals a glance at her co-star Robert Kingsley (Scott Eastwood). Kingsley returns the look and Swift looks down before glancing over at him again.
Legend has it the romance began the first week of the taping. Finn was shy and coy at first, but the sexual tension was immediate. Kingsley and Finn’s first kiss was one of passion and adoration.
Finn, with a wind machine in front of her, filmed a scene with giraffes, elephants and lions while wearing an iconic Christian Siriano dress. Off set, Kingsley and Finn spent time together, exploring Africa. They hiked to the mountains and embraced on the peak, taking in the view. They made love each night, telling each other it’s real and talking about their lives past the movie.
Rumor, though, was that their relationship was rocky. A crew member said she once pushed him after filming a scene. Finn had the crazy motion with his finger to his assistant. After a ten minute break, they went back to scene. Finn gave him a hopeful look. However, it was filming the airplane scene that they worked things out. When she held his hand, he relented. After the take, they frolicked and were a playful couple again.
Finn enjoyed the animals. She would often watch them after she finished a take. For the movie, she sat by a lion and wasn’t even scared. The last few nights were thunderous. Finn and Kingsley tried to squeeze every moment they could together. But he broke it off, saying he couldn’t leave his wife. Finn would try to get his attention and get to him talk to her. However, he gave her stony glances in return.
At the premiere, she was all smiles, waving to her fans. However, some reporters saw her face fall when she saw his wife take his hand. During the photos, her smile was forced. She had turned away, thinking of their nights spent together. She ran out of the theater alone and into her limousine. Kingsley had followed but was not able to catch up to her in time
For hardcore pop culture enthusiasts, it’s a gem of fictional possible Hollywood blind items, filling in the blanks of what it must’ve been like. The cultural appropriation controversy that followed, however, does have some merit. Wildlife mill around an all-white set, including Swift cozying up to a lion. The constant, burning sun is as hot as the co-star’s passion for one another. The gorgeous waterfalls, the thundering rain in the jungle – providing pivotal romantic moments for the couple. It’s stereotypical and the moments presented could’ve been filmed anywhere.
Director: Joseph Kahn Year: 2015
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