In a new interview with Esquire, the actor was asked about the track — long-rumored to be about his brief relationship with the singer in late 2010 — involving a lost scarf, a trip upstate, and the emotional aftermath of a love affair crystallized in the amber glow of nostalgia and regret.
“It has nothing to do with me,” he said. “It’s about her relationship with her fans. It is her expression. Artists tap into personal experiences for inspiration, and I don’t begrudge anyone that.”
The Nightcrawler star chose to take the diplomatic route regarding the song’s subject matter. But he did point the finger a bit when it came to the backlash he’s received from Swifties, especially after the song’s rerelease in a 10-minute version for Red (Taylor’s Version).
“At some point, I think it’s important when supporters get unruly that we feel a responsibility to have them be civil and not allow for cyberbullying in one’s name,” he said. “That begs for a deeper philosophical question. Not about any individual, per se, but a conversation that allows us to examine how we can — or should, even — take responsibility for what we put into the world, our contributions into the world. How do we provoke a conversation? We see that in politics. There’s anger and divisiveness, and it’s literally life-threatening in the extreme.”
Gyllenhaal went on: “My question is: Is this our future? Is anger and divisiveness our future? Or can we be empowered and empower others while simultaneously putting empathy and civility into the dominant conversation? That’s the discussion we should be having.”
While he had no problem waxing verbose about the philosophical consequences of the track’s impact, the heartthrob only had one word to say about whether he’s actually ever sat down and pressed play on Red: “No.”
Next, Gyllenhaal will star in the Michael Bay thriller Ambulance, which premieres in theaters on April 8th. Meanwhile, Swift just reunited with pal Ed Sheeran on the remix of his latest single “The Joker and the Queen” weeks after dropping the mic on Damon Albarn over whether she actually writes her own songs. She was recently named as Record Store Day’s 2022 Global Ambassador, and will release a 7-inch of her 2020 single, “the lakes.”