Taylor Swift, to Play Joni Mitchell, Cites James Taylor on Non-Breakup Song 'Begin Again'

Phil Ochs gets no love!

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift / Photo by Isaac Brekken for Getty Images
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Joni Mitchell met James Taylor for the first time after she played a show in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in early 1969, and they became romantically involved a little more than a year later, according to Sheila Weller's book Girls Like Us. "I think they saw a lot of themselves in each other," drummer Russ Kunkel is quoted as saying. "Both singer-songwriters, tall, handsome/beautiful, soulful, and talented."

Taylor Swift can probably relate, right? Variety reports that Swift will play Mitchell in an upcoming film based on Weller's book, which follows the careers of soft-rocking Boomer icons Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Carole King. And her new "Begin Again" continues the theme of '70s A.M. Gold. On the latest track to surface from Swift's upcoming album Red, she sings, "You said you never met one girl who had as many James Taylor records as you / But I do." Kismet!

"Begin Again," available on iTunes today, isn't so much a fresh start as yet another facet of what is shaping up to be a possibly very eclectic record from the Nashville singer-songwriter. Chart-topping first single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" is sassy Max Martin electro-pop with a sarcastic "indie" reference, follow-up digital single "Ronan" is an emotional tribute to a dead child, and Swift has already revealed Red will have a dubstep-tinged breakdown. On "Begin Again," weeping steel guitar stays true to Swift's country origins, but her storytelling lyrics, arpeggiated acoustic guitar, and gentle percussion hark back to the era of Mitchell and Taylor. Most refreshingly of all, Swift isn't blasting an ex, but rather celebrating a new relationship: "I think it's strange that you think I'm funny / 'Cause he never did," she observes at one point. She doesn't want to go back to December anymore, and thank goodness for that.

As for the Girls Like Us film adaptation, don't necessarily hold your breath, but Swift could be part of an intriguing cast. According to Variety, while Sony Pictures and Di Bonaventura Pictures don't have a greenlight for the project just yet, they've been auditioning some rising actresses for the roles. Actresses said to be testing for the part of Simon including Allison Williams (Girls), Jessica Pare (Mad Men), and Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love), while Alison Pill (The Newsroom), Olivia Thirlby (Dredd 3D), Ari Graynor (For a Good Time, Call Ruby Sparks) are reportedly testing for the role of King. Swift is finding herself in the middle of quite a tapestry.

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