Ethan Hawke & Josh Charles Recall Hiding Their Taylor Swift ‘Fortnight’ Cameos From Their Kids

Taylor Swift runs a tight ship. Following their surprise Dead Poets Society mini-reunion in the pop star and Post Malone’s “Fortnight” music video in April, both Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles opened up in separate interviews about keeping their cameos a total secret from everyone — including their kids.


First, Hawke appeared on The Late Show Monday night (May 6), where host Stephen Colbert wasted no time in asking the actor about his collaboration with Swift. “I think she wanted to hide a little Easter egg about Dead Poets Society,” the Before Sunrise star explained. “Josh and I, we laughed ourselves silly the whole day. We felt like the biggest rock stars in the whole world.”

“You can’t imagine what it’s like to walk through an airport with a friend you’ve known for 35 years, who you grew up with, and watch all the young people in the airport with their Eras sweatshirts on … and we got something on them,” he continued, recalling his and Charles’ voyage to Swift’s top-secret filming location. “We’re going to meet the queen ourselves.”

Hawke also revealed he signed an NDA prior to shooting the project, meaning he couldn’t tell either of his young daughters — Clementine and Indiana, whom he shares with his wife, producer Ryan Shawhughes Hawke — about the endeavor.

“You tell my teenage daughters that I’m going to meet Taylor, and everybody at school’s going to know,” he told Colbert. “When they did find out, the look on their face was one of profound disappointment. [They were like,] ‘Don’t pay attention to my dad, my dad’s an idiot, you should be calling me.’ Taylor belongs to them. I can’t have that on them.”

Stopping by The Tonight Show the next day, Charles told Jimmy Fallon that he also kept the video hidden from his children before it dropped April 19, the same day Swift’s Billboard 200-topping album The Tortured Poets Department hit streaming services. “They’re just blabbermouths and they’ll go talk about it at school,” he said, laughing.

“Finally, right before it aired, I did tell my son because he’s so full of hot air,” added Charles, who shares two kids with his wife, author Sophie Flack. “He makes up so much stuff, I knew no one would believe him anyway. He said, ‘Dad, I actually told someone. They didn’t believe me, you were right.’”


The Good Wife alum also revealed that Swift had first reached out to Hawke’s oldest daughter, Stranger Things star Maya Hawke — whom he shares with ex-wife Uma Thurman as well as 22-year-old son Levon — in order to connect with the two Dead Poets Society leads. The actors co-starred in the Peter Weir-directed classic in 1989, nearly 30 years before they would reunite to play mad scientists conducting experiments on Swift’s character in “Fortnight.” The Post Malone-assisted track has since spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Taylor knows Ethan’s daughter Maya and reached out to her,” Charles recalled. “I think it’s a little tip of the cap to Dead Poets Society, other tortured poets. Once I got over thinking [Ethan] was punking me when he first called me — I said, ‘Dude, are you bulls–ting me right now?’ It just seemed like such a fun idea.”

“I will tell you this, [Swift’s] an incredible director,” Charles added. “My favorite kind of director ’cause she knows what she wants. I was already a fan of her music, but if any of you ever get to meet her, your fandom for her will just go up through the roof. She’s just such a genuine, cool, approachable person.”

Watch Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles open up about their “Fortnight” cameos below.

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