in his words

Max Greenfield on His Best Day Ever: Working With Taylor Swift on New Girl

Max Greenfield and Taylor Swift, Tru Luv 4-eva Photo: Autumn Dewilde/FOX, ImageSource/Corbis

Tonight’s season finale of New Girl finds a special invitee at Cece’s wedding: Taylor Swift, who plays a guest named Elaine. (Will Elaine burst into “Speak Now” during the ceremony? We’re still betting on it!) The reigning country-pop star, whose last onscreen role involved sucking face with Taylor Lautner for most of Valentine’s Day, descended on the sitcom’s Los Angeles set in late April to shoot her top-secret scene. To find out what this visitation was like, Vulture called up Max Greenfield, professed T. Swift expert (according to Jake Johnson, anyway). According to him, though Swift was on set but for a few hours, her impact on him will last a lifetime. The following, in his own ecstatic words, is his account of their blessed day together:

Let me start by telling you something. When my publicist said, “Vulture wants to talk to you about Taylor Swift. Did you want to talk about that or the show?” I was like, “Are you kidding? I only want to talk about Taylor. It’s about time someone asked.”

I had heard rumblings that an offer was out to her a while ago, and I remember thinking to myself, I wonder who we’ll end up with? Because there’s no way she’ll do it. I mean, can we make an offer to someone more reasonable? Because when she passes two days before we shoot, it gives us a very limited time to find someone. But then! Then I start hearing, “She really loves the show and wants to do it.” I still thought, Well, she’s not gonna say she doesn’t love the show. She’s Taylor Swift. She’s America’s sweetheart. She’s not gonna say, “I’m not a fan of that type of comedy.” And then out of nowhere, she says yes! And I’m thinking to myself, This is a real game-changer. I’m not joking around. We’re gonna have serious ratings that night regardless of the wedding. Like, who cares about the wedding now? Taylor’s coming!

So I get up on the big morning and I think, You gotta compose yourself. You don’t want to push too much to impress. You don’t want to shrink back in your shell because you’re nervous and inhibited just because a major pop star is on set. I approached it as I would any day. Except I developed a sort of coping mechanism where I started to say to myself, Well, she’s probably going to have a whole entourage. It’s gonna be a whole thing. I wonder how much Taylor Swift is gonna hold us up today. God. But then this magical gem of a human being shows up. She looks like a butterfly flying through the summer sky, and she couldn’t be more excited to be there. We go into rehearsal. She just full-on nails it in rehearsals. We should have shot it. I can’t tell you what happens, but have you seen the video for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”? It’s got real passion, and she put passion into this. I start thinking to myself, Do you think she would be a regular on the show?

Then I was like, I’m gonna talk to Swift. You know, they had to set up the shot, they gotta do this, they gotta do that, and at one point, she was just hanging out. So let’s get to the bottom of it! I go over and we just hang in video village, me and Taylor, and we were really talking it out. Let me tell you something, I felt a real connection. I felt a real vibe between the two of us. I’m thinking, This is something that’s going well! This is somebody I’d like to hang out with outside of the show. You never know about this stuff — sometimes you meet your heroes and they end up being nightmares. Not this one. Exceeded expectations. We talked about her touring, and I asked her who she preferred playing shows to: an intimate audience or an arena. She said to me, in the sweetest way possible, “If you could fill the ocean with people, I’d like to play for them.” My heart stopped.

Not only that, let me tell you something else — she’s about six-foot-two. She totally exposed my height, which was the only off-putting thing about her. Taylor Swift, put her in a pair of heels, and it’s like, I didn’t know Heidi Klum was showing up today. When they were taking publicity shots, she towered over all of us. She’s a giant star just in every aspect of life. Anyway, she was there for a couple of hours. We said good-bye privately. It was a sweet moment. I can only speak from my point of view, and I can’t necessarily say that I know 100 percent what she was thinking, but for me the experience was that of a true, intimate, soulful connection between two people. And just, ah, if it only could have lasted just a little bit longer. I would have said, “I wish there were a future here. But you have your life, and I have mine. And they’re just too different.” I haven’t heard from her. That’s okay. It was a moment in time.

Think about everything I’ve written here when you’re watching the finale. Just imagine that this was all happening offscreen. I’ve enjoyed every day since that day with Taylor. I felt lost, and now I’m found. Thank you for letting me share it.

Max Greenfield’s Big Day With Taylor Swift