Well, we all anticipated that it was going to be pretty hot, and the music video for "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" definitely hasn't disappointed on that front. But there's just one question that's currently bugging me about it: did Taylor Swift and Zayn Malick film scenes together for the video? Were the two of them even on set together while the cameras were rolling? I ask because, though the video is a brooding fire of smoldering greatness, Swift and Zayn share barely any notable screen time together until some very brief final shots. And honestly? Color me disappointed. Because I was so looking forward to seeing the two singers interact a little more with one another in the music video.
Taken from the soundtrack to Fifty Shades Darker, the surprise collaboration between Swift and Zayn was released at the start of Dec. 2016. Fans have been excitedly waiting for the music video to drop ever since.
Featuring the two singers at their sultriest and most brooding best, the video shows Swift and Zayn in parallel states of unbridled, lonely pining. Despite the fact that they spend hardly any time sharing the same space, there's a strangely ambiguous sexual tension suggested between the two of them throughout it. Which ultimately, totally works.
But did they actually film any of the scenes together? Because the first point that's worth recognizing here is that it's actually quite easy to manipulate shots like the ones at the end of the video. Showing Zayn and Swift back to back together, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to suggest that the scenes could be filmed without the two stars actually being present at once.
Back in 2015, for example, fans of The Good Wife suggested that a specific scene starring actors Jullianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi had been noticeably filmed without the two stars performing it together. Instead, fans theorized that the Good Wife scene had been filmed in split screen and put together in post-production. Could it be that the same technique has been used for the "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" music video? And, if so, then why?
Frankly, it's a little hard to tell, and there's not a whole lot of substantial evidence to prove the case either way. On Jan. 8, 2017, for instance, The Sun reported that though Zayn was spotted filming the music video in London, Swift herself hadn't been seen.
Sources for the newspaper reported that, though Swift was believed to be somewhere in the St. Pancreas Hotel where the video was being filmed, that there was "no sign of her," and she hadn't even been seen around London at the time of the shoot. Instead, her management team had been seen at the hotel, which seemed to indicate that Swift was there also.
Update: A brief behind the scenes clip from the music video shoot has been shared by Swift's management team on Twitter which reveals that Swift and Zayn were definitely at the video shoot and hotel at the same time. At the start of the clip, which is taken from DirecTV’s Taylor Swift Now, Swift explains that she is filming her scenes first while Zayn is asleep. Later on in the clip, both Zayn and Swift can be seen walking together down the same corridor.
This isn't altogether too far fetched or strange an idea to consider, however. After all, though Zayn has some outside scenes at the start of the music video, all of Swift's moments take place indoors. It's extremely likely, then, that she wouldn't have been spotted. When you consider just how busy the two singers probably are, too, then it stands to reason that the two of them might not have had much of an opportunity to spend time together or even film scenes at the same time.
After all, the song itself wasn't recorded with the two of them present at the same time. Instead, Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote and produced "I Don't Wanna Live Forever," revealed on Twitter that the song was recorded quickly, with the two singing parts done at separate times from each other.
recorded taylor at my house. zayn sent parts from LA - we did it in a week basically. i've never had something come out that quick— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) December 9, 2016
The most likely argument here is that the video concept was simply created to both befit the busy schedules of Swift and Zayn while also capturing the spirit of the Fifty Shades Of Grey franchise. And as such, the video shows the two of them barely sharing any screen time because that was simply the easiest and most effective way to achieve that.
But by doing so, the "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" video also manages to tell a story that suits the vibe of the Fifty Shades franchise. We're seeing Swift and Zayn portray characters who are clearly besotted with each other, painfully so, and who are always connected despite whatever distance is existing between them. Much like a certain Mr. Grey and Anastasia Steele, right? Exactly.
Suffice to say, with or without much shared screen time, the two singers still manage to absolutely ignite the video both on their own and also together.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from its original version