What You Don't Know About Joe Alwyn

Over the past few years, Joe Alwyn has become a reluctant pop culture phenomenon, not because of his versatility as an actor or for being the male version of an English rose, but rather for his role as Mr. Taylor Swift. Alwyn and Swift began dating in 2017, and rumor has it that he is the man who inspired songs such as "Dress," "Gorgeous," and "Lover." However, the two have maintained a fiercely private relationship since coupling up.

But being Swift's "London Boy" is far from Alwyn's only claim to fame. The actor landed his first role in an Ang Lee film in 2015 straight out of drama school. Since then, he's worked with the likes of Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Ben Kingsley, Margot Robbie, Oscar Isaac, Saoirse Ronan, and Tilda Swinton, to name just a few. You may know him from projects such as "The Favorite," "Mary Queen of Scots," or the latest Sally Rooney adaptation, "Conversations with Friends."

Curious to find out more about the quiet, talented Brit who won Taylor Swift's heart? Here are a few things you never knew about Joe Alwyn.

Joe Alwyn is pretty wary of the media — and it's easy to see why

There seems to be a common theme running through nearly every Joe Alwyn interview: A few paragraphs into each profile, the interviewer expresses a mild frustration at Alwyn's careful, guarded approach to the media. Alwyn, it seems, has crafted an unproblematic, somewhat bland persona that is difficult to crack. But, of course, as the boyfriend of Taylor Swift, Alwyn has had his fair share of media scrutiny and has been the subject of a whole lot of tabloid rumors. By staying private with the media, he hopes to keep all of this attention to a minimum. "I think because the precedent was set — that our choice is to be private and not feed that side of things — the more you do that, hopefully, the more that intrusiveness or intrigue drops off," Alwyn told GQ in May 2022.

Despite his dedication to keeping his private life private, Alwyn has tried to open up a little more over the years. "I don't think I don't enjoy interviews," he told Vulture and added that he would like to appear less guarded while participating in them. Given the circumstances, we can hardly blame Alwyn for his wariness regarding the media.

Joe Alwyn left drama school early to star in Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

For many young actors, leaving drama school means facing a few years of unsuccessful auditions and life as a "starving artist." However, things went a little differently for Joe Alwyn. The actor got his big break in 2015 while still at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama when he was cast in Ang Lee's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" alongside Kristen Stewart. He left the school four months before graduation (via Harper's Bazaar).

"It was such a surreal, full-on experience," he told ET. "Going to a country I'd never been to before, being on a film set — which I'd never been in front of a camera before — with a group of people who I'd grown up watching, it was the most intense experience I'd had, ever." For Alwyn, the role launched his acting career. It was, as he put it to Vogue, "life-changing."

Joe Alwyn was an athletic child with a secret passion for acting

As it turns out, Joe Alwyn wasn't always interested in acting. In fact, as a young boy, he was more often found on a sports field and excelled at football and tennis in particular.

Nevertheless, despite his athletic tendencies, he developed a secret passion for the arts. As he told Vulture, he was obsessed with "Romeo + Juliet," and he used to watch what he described as "random French movies" with his parents. Eventually, he began acting, first appearing in a production of "Macbeth" and then playing Snowy the dog in a school production of "Tintin."

Soon, Alwyn began looking into studying drama at university. As he told Harper's Bazaar, he even started secretly looking up drama schools online. Of course, he eventually opened up to his family about his ambitions and went to drama school — and the rest, as they say, is history.

Joe Alwyn once worked with Ben Kingsley

Joe Alwyn has undoubtedly worked with plenty of Hollywood A-listers in his time. However, actor Sir Ben Kingsley is easily one of the biggest names on his list of co-stars. In "Operation Finale," Kingsley played Adolf Eichmann — a Nazi who helped plan the Holocaust — and Alwyn played Eichmann's son. The pair shared several scenes, but as Alwyn told GQ, Kingsley didn't speak to him or any other cast members while on set and remained hands-off save for performing.

"I've never been on set with someone who didn't make contact with anyone else and just wanted to stay in their own mental headspace and in their own zone," Alwyn said. "It was interesting to watch ... and also slightly intimidating." Luckily, it ended up helping Alwyn in his performance. "It suited the film," he said. "Eichmann's son loves him but is fearful of him, so it played into that."

Joe Alwyn has helped Taylor Swift write several songs

In 2020, Taylor Swift released her lockdown album, "Folklore." One of the co-writers listed in the credits was the mysterious William Bowery. But, as Swift eventually revealed, this was a pseudonym for Joe Alwyn. The pair collaborated on three more songs in Swift's next album, "Evermore." 

As Alwyn later told Kelly Clarkson (via YouTube), he had decided to use a pseudonym so that fans could listen to the music without making judgments about it. "We chose to do it so that people first and foremost would listen to the music first before dissecting the fact that we did it together." 

As for the name "William Bowery" — which Alwyn admitted was "very fancy" and sounded like an "Agatha Christie character who should be wearing a monocle with a big mustache" — the name was a mixture of Alwyn's great-grandfather William who was a composer and Bowery came from the area in New York City.

Joe Alwyn almost starred in a very famous movie as a child

Even though Joe Alwyn didn't land his first professional role until after finishing drama school, he did have some experience auditioning for professional films. As the actor revealed on "Live Kelly & Ryan" (via YouTube), he auditioned for "Love Actually" as a child. "Actually, that came about because of 'Zorro,'" he said. "Because I took these fencing lessons they'll often send casting directors around to schools and community centers." Apparently, Alwyn had been taking fencing lessons at a local community center when a casting director happened to see him and offered him an audition for the film.

"It meant that I got time off school to go audition for this film, so I went to it, and then they had me back for another one and another one, and there was a whole series of workshops," he recalled. The actor even met Hugh Grant and Richard Curtis during the audition process. "I didn't get it in the end, obviously," he summed up. According to GQ, the role eventually went to Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

Here are a few of Joe Alwyn's favorite things

In 2018, Joe Alwyn was interviewed by GQ. During the interview, he was asked to name a few of his favorite things. His favorite TV show, he said, was "The Bridge." He added that his all-time favorite films were either "On The Waterfront" or "Boogie Nights." "I like Paul Thomas Anderson a lot," he explained. As for music, Alwyn said that he was a big rap fan. "I like rap music," he said. "Lykke Li I like a lot." His favorite rapper is Eminem. He is also a lapsed fan of Chelsea Football Club — "I don't care much about football anymore," he clarified. 

In another interview with Vanity Fair, Alwyn proclaimed that his favorite take-out food is Indian curry. He also revealed that his most-used emoji is the dancing woman in the red dress — more proof that Taylor Swift's song "Dress" is about Alwyn? Maybe!

Here's how Joe Alwyn landed his role in Conversations with Friends

One of Joe Alwyn's biggest roles is Nick, the leading man in the 2022 adaptation of Sally Rooney's "Conversations with Friends." The actor explained to Vulture that he got the role thanks to a series of fortunate twists of fate. First, he had been all set to star in an "Emily Brontë origin story," but COVID-19 was said to have gotten in the way. 

Instead, he submitted an audition for "Conversations with Friends." First, he decided to shoot his self-tape in a friend's house. Then, to make himself look older, he went to his friend's bedroom to find a jacket to borrow from her husband. Upstairs, he saw a copy of the Rooney book on the floor. "I'm not superstitious," he said, but the incident made it really feel like fate. Destiny or not, Alwyn was clearly perfect for the role!

Joe Alwyn reportedly met Taylor Swift through Emma Stone

So, how did a relatively unknown Brit happen to meet and fall in love with the biggest American pop star in the world? Well, apparently, it's all thanks to Emma Stone. Alwyn was working with Stone on "The Favorite," a film about Queen Anne in the U.K. Stone introduced the pair, and Swift spent several months traveling to the U.K. in various disguises to visit him (via W Magazine). Swift wrote in a diary entry at the time, "I'm essentially based in London, hiding out trying to protect us from the nasty world that just wants to ruin things" (via Glamour). 

While we don't know exactly where the pair first met, most people agree that the original meeting probably took place at the 2016 Met Gala (via Elle). This hypothesis even fits with the lines of Swift's song "Dress," which goes, "Flashback to when you met me, your buzzed cut and my hair bleached" — which sounds an awful lot like Alwyn's look at the time in question.  

Joe Alwyn dislikes using social media

For Joe Alwyn, social media is a little scary, especially now that he's dating Taylor Swift. So, the actor tends to steer clear. He has a semi-active Instagram account, while his Twitter account has been "abandoned," as he told Harper's Bazaar. "I just think social media is weird," he explained. "There are times it can be useful, for sure, but I think it can also be a pretty corrosive space and not great for mental health. And if I can keep that at arm's length, then I'm probably slightly saner for myself."

It's easy to see why Alwyn has stepped back from his social media platforms. In fact, he once posted the same picture as Taylor Swift — and the internet assumed it was a secret nod to his new girlfriend. However, as Alwyn later confirmed to GQ, "I didn't even think of that until I was in New York and someone else mentioned it. It wasn't purposeful at all!" 

Joe Alwyn never met Sally Rooney before filming Conversations with Friends

Joe Alwyn's turn in "Conversations with Friends" was an important moment in his career. Afterall, the previous Sally Rooney adaptation, "Normal People," gave its stars — actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal — instant household name status. Apparently, Alwyn got the part thanks to Rooney herself, who had the power to veto actors for the lead roles. "She was involved in casting and watching tapes," Alwyn told The Guardian

To say thank you for giving him a shot at the character of Nick in the show, Alwyn had planned to meet up with Rooney in Dublin during the shoot. However, he had to say thank you in an email when his plans changed. Of course, Rooney's third book, "Beautiful World, Where Are You?" contains a lot of emails. ​"She does a good email," Alwyn said. In fact, he had been so nervous to email her, he had to do "many, many drafts." "I did my best email," he said. "It just felt really nice to have her blessing."

Joe Alwyn's parents have interesting jobs

Joe Alwyn grew up in Tufnell Park, an upper-middle-class area in London. His mother is a psychotherapist, and as Alwyn explained to The Guardian, this made her understanding and empathetic — but he never felt that she treated him like a patient. "I never felt like I was lying down on the couch and being analyzed every evening, which is probably a good thing," he said. "I managed to escape that. But she's great with people and great to talk to." He added, "I actually think if I didn't do this, I would be interested in doing something like that."

As for his father, he made documentary films. "When I was growing up my dad was away a lot,' he told the Evening Standard. "He did a lot of work in crisis zones, places like Uganda or Rwanda. When your dad comes back from a faraway land with bows and arrows and spears wrapped up in a carpet ... that's cool." Maybe his parents passed on an understanding of the human psyche and a love of film that eventually led to Alwyn's love of acting.

Joe Alwyn cannot start the day without a coffee from his French press

There's nothing quite like a strong cup of coffee in the morning to wake you up — especially when you're a busy A-lister actor. For Joe Alwyn, coffee is necessary. "I'll start my essentials with the way I start the morning, which is coffee," the actor told GQ (via YouTube). He then showed off a gorgeous red French press he uses each morning for his daily dose of caffeine.

"You put your coffee in, you put your hot water in, you plunge it down, and you drink it straight from this with a little bit of milk," he joked with a smile. Alwyn clarified that while he isn't a snob about where he gets his coffee, he needs it to get through the day. "I just basically drink it and inject it into my veins," he said. Well, that's something we can all relate to!

Joe Alwyn has an interest in photography, in part thanks to the director of The Favorite

While Joe Alywn is usually found in front of the camera, he sometimes likes to get behind the camera. As the actor explained to GQ, he is an avid photographer in his spare time (via YouTube). While showing off his Leica Q camera, he said, "I first saw one of these on the set of 'The Favorite.'" Apparently, the film director always had one with him for taking behind-the-scenes photos. Alwyn was inspired to get one of his own. "I'll take it on set sometimes or take it out and about," he said. Alwyn explained that he had always been "pretty interested in photography."

Alwyn takes plenty of photos of his life with Taylor Swift. There is even a compilation of pictures and videos of Swift taken by Alwyn on YouTube that show her cooking, playing music, and going on walks. How adorable!