Austin Swift (Yes, Brother of Taylor) Is Finding His Own Path to the Limelight
The burgeoning actor talks to Vanity Fair about his passion for cinema and what he’s learned from his big sister.
When Austin Swift was a sophomore in high school he weighed 250 pounds and, as he tells it, “didn’t have a lot of friends.” The younger brother of an internationally renowned pop star (her first name’s Taylor—you may have heard of her), Swift recounts that there was one place during his childhood where he was able to find refuge: the cinema. “I would go to the movies, and Daniel Craig was my friend, and Christian Bale was my friend, and Clive Owen was my friend, and Viggo Mortensen was my friend.”
Now 25, Swift—sinewy and with an Old Hollywood sheen about him—is well on his way to becoming the sort of actor whom high-school sophomores may someday also feel simpatico with. He appeared in Ben Affleck’s crime drama Live by Night, which landed in theaters last January, and co-stars in Todd Berger’s Cover Versions, out later this year. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, in 2015, he filmed a role alongside Pierce Brosnan in John Moore’s I.T., before arriving in Los Angeles, where, he says, he “found a group of cool people” and completed an internship at Lionsgate, for which his responsibilities included making and sending out DVD screeners.
Swift—gentle, brainy, and measured in person—has, especially considering the enormous fame of his sister, a notably low-key presence. He is the sort of guy to offer you a copy of a play right out of his bag when you’re parting ways (“I think you’ll like this one—I just read it”). Austin speaks about Taylor with the admiration and brightness of a classic younger sibling, describing his own journey as more meandering by comparison: “She found singing, and I knew from very early on that that was her direction. She was never going to quit; that was her thing, that was her life … and I was always a little bit, you know, doing this, doing that.” He says that watching her achieve, to borrow one of her song titles, her wildest dreams has helped to motivate him on his own artistic path. “Something I learned myself, and learned through watching her, is respect,” he explains. “You just respect everyone’s time, everyone that you’re working with. They’re all there, it’s all their lives, and you need to put the work in to be worth that.”