The Giraffe From Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams" Music Video Tells Us What It Was Like Working With The Pop Star
Say what you will about yesterday's VMAs, but I think we can all agree it was a big night for Taylor Swift: the “Bad Blood” singer walked away from Sunday night’s 2015 MTV Video Music Awards with four Jeremy Scott-designed moonmen statuettes, she held Kim Kardashian throughout Kanye West's Video Vanguard acceptance speech, and she and Nicki Minaj snuffed out the "feud" with a stellar performance. Oh, but there's more: Toward the end of the red carpet pre-show, Swift released the highly anticipated music video for “Wildest Dreams.” After the video for the fifth single off of 2014’s 1989 premiered, I reached out to a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who could put me in touch with one of the clip’s supporting actors: the giraffe. I just had to talk to him.
Not only was Gerald the giraffe gracious enough to spend 20 minutes of his evening chatting with me, but he was a complete joy to speak with. Comfortable, even. It was almost like talking with an old friend. Over the course of our discussion, Gerald shared some on set gossip, what it was like working with Swift, and what is next for him.
Kristie: What was the “Wildest Dreams” audition process like?
Gerald: It was like something out of my wildest dreams [chuckles]. I’m sorry, I’ve made that joke at least 50 times in the last week alone, but it has yet to grow old. The audition was open call, but only seven other giraffes showed up. I felt bad for the elephants. They had the worst of it.
K: Why’s that?
G: Oh, because there were at least 300 elephants vying to play the heard of elephants. And the casting director kept the final 25 until the wee hours of the morning. The audition for the part of “giraffe," however, lasted all of 45 minutes.
K: Wow, that’s fascinating. I suppose I don’t know much about the animal auditioning process. I would—
G: Sorry to interrupt, but remind me to tell you about this book a marmoset wrote about his life as an extra in Hollywood.
K: Oh, OK.
G: I just don’t have the title handy right now, but I’ll email it to you later. It’s a must read.
K: Awesome! I look forward to it. Now, what the actual “Wildest Dreams” shoot like?
G: Taylor is just… [sigh]. She is something else. A very lovely human. So, so beautiful.
K: No gossip?
G: About Taylor? No way! She’s a true delight. Consummate professional. Even if I did I have anything to say, I would never spill. I know better. She’s one of the most powerful people in the industry.
K: What about Scott Eastwood?
G: Very nice guy. You know, he looks even more like his father in person than I expected. When I saw The Longest Ride—which, if you haven’t seen it yet, features an excellent performance by my friend Burt the bull—I thought he looked a lot like young Clint Eastwood. The resemblance is even more striking in person.
K: So, he’s even more handsome than the television would lead you to believe?
G: [Laughs] Yes. Now, both he and Taylor were terrific costars. Would love to work with them again. Zippy, however…
K: Uh, you’ve got another think coming if you’re under the impression I’m going to let you trail off like that. Please elaborate. Spare no feelings.
G: Zippy played one of the zebras in the video. He is a jerk, plain and simple. He refused to learn his blocking, yelled at the PAs, and dumped all of the soy milk down the drain because he “hates the smell.”
K: Wait, the smell of soy milk bothered him that much?
G: Yes. He claimed he could smell it from where he was working, even though the carton was in the mini fridge. The mini fridge, mind you, was in a trailer. A trailer that was at least 100 yards away from where he was. He kept screaming, “It REEKS! It REEKS!” Finally, he hurtled toward the soy milk trailer, threw open the door, and ran inside. About five minutes later, he emerged. He had this maniacal look in his eyes. And then, he slowly made his way back to his mark. As he walked, he locked eyes with the director and said, "All right, Mr. Kahn, I'm ready for my closeup."
G: It was quite the scene. Not to mention a huge waste of time.
K: I had no idea zebras had such a strong sense of smell.
G: Yeah, that's a thing. But apparently, the soy milk didn't bother the other zebras? Zippy is a piece of work.
K: Sounds like it. What was your favorite part of the shoot?
G: Looking handsome on camera [laughs loudly]. No, no. I'm joking.
K: Well, you do look great in the video.
G: You're so kind to say that. If I'm being perfectly honest, it was just an honor to be a part of a beautiful video like "Wildest Dreams." It's an experience I won't soon forget.
K: What's next for you?
G: You can catch me in a made-for-TV movie about giraffe ballet dancers. Not sure which network it'll air on, but it should come out sometime next year.
K: You can dance, too?
G: Yes. I've been dancing since the moment I could stand up on all four legs.
K: That's incredible.
G: I am a gir-ack of all trades.
K: You really are.
Oh, wait. I don’t speak Giraffe. Augh, you caught me. I made up the entire interview. Yes, I made up the zebra soy milk tantrum. And no, the marmoset extra book doesn't exist. Same goes for the giraffe ballet dancer made-for-TV movie. Sorry to disappoint.
Images: TaylorSwiftVEVO/YouTube (4); Kristie Rohwedder/Bustle (1)