Andrew Scott talks group chat that may have inspired Taylor Swift’s album

Beth Garrabrant

After Taylor Swift announced that her new album would be called The Tortured Poets Department, a 2022 edition of Variety’s Actors on Actors featuring Taylor’s ex Joe Alwyn and Paul Mescal saying they had a WhatsApp group with Andrew Scott called the “Tortured Man Club” resurfaced online. 

In a recent Variety interview, Scott explains that Alwyn and Mescal were “about to play these tortured characters” — Alwyn in Conversations with Friends and Mescal in Normal People — while, Scott says, “I had played a tortured character in Fleabag. It wasn’t about our own characteristics!” But Scott says the chat collapsed after three texts.

While Scott didn’t confirm that the group chat inspired the album’s title, he and Taylor are friends. “Taylor’s new album is sensational! I texted her yesterday to say how amazing it is,” Scott tells Variety.

“I think she is just a force of nature, just an extraordinary human, and this album is really, really amazing,” he adds. He says his favorite song is “The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived,” who many fans believe is about The 1975 singer Matty Healy.

Scott doesn’t describe how he and Taylor became friends, but it could have been through Joe, or perhaps through Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who’s another one of Taylor’s pals.

In other Taylor news, she’s just released the BLOND:ISH remix of “Fortnight,” which turns the moody, midtempo song into a dance tune.


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