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The Rock’s Apparently A Huge Taylor Swift Fan. How That Love Led To Her ‘Very Secret’ Song Getting Added To DC League Of Super Pets

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The Rock’s Apparently A Huge Taylor Swift Fan. How That Love Led To Her ‘Very Secret’ Song Getting Added To DC League Of Super Pets

Animated films and pop song soundtracks have mixed together rather well for some time now. The upcoming movie DC League of Super-Pets is no exception, as two of the creative forces that drove the movie are huge Taylor Swift fans, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson being one of them. What follows is a story that involves secrecy measures, an unreleased Swift song and the image of The Rock wearing headphones and jamming out to one of Taylor’s Versions.

How DC League Of Super-Pets Landed Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)

I was given the honor of speaking with the other major Swiftie behind DC League of Super-Pets, co-writer/director Jared Stern. As we spoke over Zoom, I had to ask him about the two Taylor Swift tracks that made it into the film. One seemed more important than the other on the outset, as I had learned that “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)” hasn’t even been released to the public yet, and neither has the re-recorded version of the album it was pulled from, 1989

All of those elements added up to this first fun story that Jared Stern told CinemaBlend. Here’s how Stern and Dwayne Johnson decided on using “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version),” and how they came to secure that privilege:

First of all, Dwayne Johnson is a huge Swiftie, as am I. So we were both very excited when we thought of the song that Krypto [listens to], when he’s pouting and frustrated like a teenager, and he slams the door and pops on his headphones. And it had to be Taylor. So we asked, and watched the movie, she thought it was real fun, and she said yes. Of course it was important to us that we only wanted ‘Taylor’s Version,’ and it hadn’t come out yet. But it’s in our movie, which is pretty freaking exciting.

As the re-recording of Taylor Swift’s older albums continues, in an effort to combat the fact that Swift’s original masters were sold off, only two albums have been fully re-released. While we’ve questioned when and how Taylor is working on this project, 1989 is the album that feels closest to being Taylor’s Version debut. It’s also the same album that Spirit Unleashed pulled a track from, as “Wildest Dreams” ended up in the trailer last year. 

So far, the story’s a pretty simple one: Jared Stern and Dwayne Johnson really dug “Bad Blood (Taylor’s Version)” being included in DC League of Super-Pets, and in turn, Taylor Swift dug their movie. As we move to the next section of this tale, Swift apparently enjoyed the film so much that she decided to offer another song for use on the production.

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The Song That Taylor Swift Offered As Her Second Contribution To DC League Of Super-Pets

While Red (Taylor’s Version) has indeed been released to the world, there was a time when it was once as secretive as whatever Taylor Swift is currently plotting. That period overlapped with the production of DC League of Super-Pets, but it didn’t stop Taylor and her representatives from offering another then-unreleased song to the project. 

Thus the decision was made to offer Jared Stern and Dwayne Johnson the usage of “Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault).” Needless to say, Stern was over the moon, as any self-proclaimed Swiftie would be. However, the co-writer/director didn’t want to just throw the song over the closing credits for no reason. With that in mind, here’s how Jared Stern decided to include that other song in the film: 

When it came to our end credits song, I believe it was Taylor, her brother, and her company reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, you know, we have this song.’ It was before the re-release of Red … they had a song that had never been released before, like an outtake off of that album that was going to be on the ‘Taylor’s Version’ re-release, and we were like, ‘Yes, please. I would love to hear this.’ … I tried to make the decision not just based on how incredibly cool that experience was, but it was just the perfect song for the end of the movie, because it’s really sweet. To me it’s a love song, but I think for our movie, [it’s] the love between a pet and an owner. It’s these pets in a shelter that are kind of putting out these messages in a bottle, hoping they’ll find someone to adopt them.

It’s quite possibly the most adorable reason to use a song like “Message in a Bottle (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” in a major motion picture. With the overarching theme of pet adoption tying into the adventures that Ace (Kevin Hart) and his friends embark on with their new powers, using a song about seeking love just hits closer to home when it’s tied to animals. 

However, there was a process that Jared Stern and others had to undergo in order to consider this song for DC League of Super-Pets. For our last piece of the puzzle, we’re about to dive into something Taylor Swift fans are going to absolutely be interested in. You see, in order for Stern to even listen to Taylor’s Version of “Message in a Bottle,” some pretty strong measures had to be taken to ensure its secrecy. 

Just How Secretive Is The Process To Listen To An Unreleased Taylor Swift Song?

To the rest of the outside world, listening to Taylor Swift music is as easy as plugging in a set of headphones. That’s if you want to listen to the versions that are currently available, which means that Taylor’s Version isn’t always going to be available. While we’re not talking about anything crazy like the measures noted for behind-the-scenes trivia on “Shake It Off,” there was a bit of a drive involved, as Jared Stern explained: 

It was very secret, as you could imagine. We actually drove up to a house, far up in the hills. We went in, and we sat around a table, we each headphones. It was kind of cool, I felt like I was a secret agent. They were all plugged in, it was like four headphones plugged into one computer. We sat, we listened to the song ‘Message in a Bottle’ before it was released.

Just imagine four people crowding around a computer, wearing headphones, listening to the Taylor’s Version cut of “Message in a Bottle,” and one of them just happens to be The Rock. Well, you technically don’t have to rely on imagination alone for that image, as a new promo for DC League of Super-Pets has done the work for you. Check out this video straight from Johnson’s Twitter page that shows him and Kevin Hart jamming out to both songs used in the film: 

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It won’t be long before parents, children and really dedicated Taylor Swift fans will be able to hear Taylor’s Version of both “Bad Blood” and “Message in a Bottle” in theaters. DC League of Super-Pets opens in early showings tonight, with this weekend marking the wide release. The best part is you won’t need to share a headphone jack to enjoy it with a crowd! But if you want to read what critics said about DC’s latest animated movie, that information is available for your perusal as well. 

Interviews

Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Pick For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

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Quentin Tarantino Reveals His Pick For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Made’

It may not feel like it sometimes, but any upcoming movie has the chance to be named “the greatest movie ever made” by someone out there. However, that honor does have some specific caveats if you’re someone like filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Not only has the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director chosen a Steven Spielberg classic for that very distinction, Tarantino also explained just why that title is very specific. 

In an upcoming interview with our in-house podcast ReelBlend, Quentin Tarantino made his fourth appearance to talk about all things movies; the first since the big live show at the New Beverly Cinema. Promoting his new co-hosting gig on The Video Archives Podcast, Tarantino had yet another spirited discussion about cinema, which led to his pick of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws as  the greatest “movie” ever made. That distinction is important, as the Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood director made that perfectly clear through the following remarks: 

I think Jaws is the greatest movie ever made. Maybe not the greatest film. But it’s the greatest movie ever made. And then there are other movies that can get in its rarefied air. But as far as a movie, there’s no making it better than Jaws. There’s no ‘better’ than Jaws. It is the best movie ever made. And it shows how badly timed most movies made before Jaws were.

Leave it to Quentin Tarantino to separate his tastes in movies into those two separate, important camps: “movies” and “films.” In this case, the designation of a movie almost sounds like it’s shorthand for the blockbuster opuses that Steven Spielberg made a name for himself with. Which means that “films” are presumably more of the independent/art house titles that have higher pedigrees, and usually end up on the lists of best picture nominees every year.

Strangely enough, Jaws is one of six horror movies to have Best Picture nominations, so the line could blur just a bit in that respect. Putting aside the “movies” versus “films” debate, Quentin Tarantino isn’t using that separation to be a snob. Later on in the conversation, he explained how spectacles such as this are their own form of art, and how Steven Spielberg came to be someone who perfected it: 

What I meant by that, to one degree or another, is that Spielberg and a lot of his cohorts grew up seeing those kinds of movies in the theater. Henry Levin’s Journey to Center of the Earth, he’s gonna run to go and see that. Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage. He’s going to run and go see it. Gordon Douglas’s Them! He’s going to run and go see. Now… most of them weren’t directed that well. They were assignments given to journeyman directors who did their best with them. That was how we were used to seeing comic book — that kind of movie experience. As opposed to a Spielberg, who was like, ‘No, this is exactly the kind of movie he likes. This is exactly the kind of movies he was put on earth to make. And he’s going to make it, within an inch of his life, as effective as it possibly can be. And, you know, Michael Anderson, isn’t putting that kind of work in Logan’s Run.

Spielberg, and “cohorts” like George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Copolla all latched onto genres that were pulpier entertainments in their childhood, only to make them into something new. Through films like Jaws, Star Wars, Taxi Driver, and The Godfather, we saw a generation of directors taking movies they loved and reviving them through their own personal lenses. Which is exactly what Quentin Tarantino would do when he stepped onto the scene with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction; and it’s also why he’s such a staunch supporter of the cinematic experience. 

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If this conversation boils down to anything, it’s game recognizing game. Much as Steven Spielberg idolized the movies that helped make Jaws, Quentin Tarantino has reverence for the bearded director and his dedication to making the movies that sparked his love of cinema. Though considering the history his collaborator Samuel L. Jackson has had with sharks, you have to wonder if this has already sparked any sort of humorous conversations between the two?

You’ll be able to watch, and listen, to Quentin Tarantino’s latest appearance on ReelBlend, as it’s set to hit YouTube tomorrow. Meanwhile, Tarantino may not have his tenth and final film in the works just yet, but you can still enjoy the man’s gift for words in two very cool ways. 

Tarantino’s Video Archives podcast, which he co-hosts with friend and collaborator Roger Avery, is currently streaming wherever you find fine listening material. However, if you also want to read the man’s thoughts on ‘70s filmmaking in his upcoming book Cinema Speculation, which you can currently preorder on Amazon (opens in new tab); or any other fine bookseller.

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‘Prey’ Interviews With Amber Midthunder, Dan Trachtenberg And More!

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The stars of “Prey,” Amber Midthunder (“Naru”), Dakota Bevers (“Taabe”), Dane DiLiegro (“The Predator”), director Dan Trachtenberg and producer Jhane Myers discuss their new “Predator” movie in this interview with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. They discuss the “Prey” audition moment that landed Amber Midthunder her role and more!

You can stream “Prey” on Hulu on August 5.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ | Marvel Comic-Con Interviews with Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan & More

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ | Marvel Comic-Con Interviews with Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan & More

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” stars Chris Pratt (Peter Quill / Star-Lord), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Will Poulter (Adam Warlock), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Sean Gunn (Kraglin / On-Set Rocket), Chukwudi Iwuji (The High Evolutionary) and writer Director James Gunn discuss their upcoming Marvel film and conclusion of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy in this post-Hall H interview with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.

Video Chapters

  • 00:00 – Chris Pratt on Finding “Your Side”
  • 00:35 – Chris Pratt Teases What’s Ahead For Star-Lord and Gamora In GOTG 3
  • 01:24 – Karen Gillan LOVES ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Fan Reactions
  • 02:00 – Karen Gillan Weighs In On Nebula Unaliving Nebula in ‘Endgame’
  • 02:32 – James Gunn Teases a “Darker” ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Movie
  • 03:20 – Sean Gunn on Baby Rocket’s Difficult Backstory
  • 04:30 –  Pom Klementieff on Welcoming New Marvel Actors to the ‘Guardians’ Family
  • 05:15 – Pom Klementieff Teases A More Badass Mantis In ‘Guardians 3’
  • 05:35 – Will Poulter Teases Adam Warlock Origins in ‘GOTG 3’ 
  • 06:32 – Chukwudi Iwuji on The High Evolutionary and His Motivations
  • 07:20 – Chukwudi Iwugi Praises James Gunn’s Dialogue
  • 08:15 – Chris Pratt Recalls His Last Day of Filming the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Trilogy
  • 08:55 – James Gunn Is Literally Always Writing and Rewriting Scripts
  • 09:49 – Will Poulter Wants to Play Adam Warlock Again “If Marvel Will Have Me”

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