Andrew Scott Explains 'Tortured Man Club' Group Chat With Joe Alwyn and Reacts to Taylor Swift's New Album

Andrew Scott reacts to Taylor Swift's new album and dishes on his 'Tortured Man Club' group chat with her ex, Joe Alwyn.

Andrew Scott is adding music critic to his many list of accomplishments. In a conversation with Variety to promote his new Netflix series, Ripley, the 47-year-old actor shares his enthusiastic review of Taylor Swift's latest album, The Tortured Poets Department.

"Taylor's new album is sensational! I texted her yesterday to say how amazing it is," Scott says about the 34-year-old's 11th studio album. "I think she is just a force of nature, just an extraordinary human, and this album is really, really amazing."

The Fleabag star reveals that "The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived" is his favorite of the 31 songs on the record's track listing. 

Scott claims Swift as a friend and says nothing to the fact that he's also friends with someone highly rumored to be one of the major sources of inspiration for Swift's songs -- Joe Alwyn

Alwyn, 33, was involved with Swift's music career when the two were together -- even winning a GRAMMY Award as one of the writers on her 2020 albumFolklore. The longtime couple was together for six years, from late 2016 to early 2023. ET broke the news of their split, with a source saying that the breakup was amicable and "not dramatic." ET was told at the time that "the relationship had just run its course." 

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn - Jackson Lee/GC Images

Since their split, the Conversations With Friends star has kept a low profile and kept his distance from any drama or speculation about Swift's new songs.

However, it's hard to keep away from the speculation that Swift's album title is inspired by a throwaway mention from a conversation between Paul Mescal and Alwyn during a 2022 Variety Actors on Actors conversation.

During the discussion, Alwyn -- who was dating Swift at the time -- revealed that he was in a group chat with Mescal and Scott called "the Tortured Man Club." Scott, they said, had initiated the chat.

Scott is quick to clarify the story for Variety. He explains that he introduced Alwyn, whom he starred alongside in 2022's Catherine Called Birdy, to Mescal because the two were both starring in TV adaptations of Sally Rooney's work: Alwyn would star in Conversations With Friends and Mescal in Normal People.

"So they were about to play these tortured characters, and I had played a tortured character in Fleabag. It wasn't about our own characteristics," Scott says. The Ripley star admits that the chat died quickly after it began, noting that it only involved three texts. "You know those groups that you set up, and they just collapse." 

Joe Alwyn and Paul Mescal attend The Hollywood Reporter 2022 TIFF Studio - Sonia Recchia/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

While Scott is excited for his fans to discover a new side of his work in Ripley, a series based on Patricia Highsmith's 1955 crime novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, which inspired the 1999 film of the same name starring Matt Damon, he doesn't mind looking back at the projects that built the foundation of his career -- particularly his role as the "Hot Priest" on Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Fleabag. 

Scott stars in the second and final season of the beloved Prime Video series. The series ends with Fleabag (Waller-Bridge) and The Priest (Scott) sitting on a bench waiting for a bus and confessing their feelings for one another. Fleabag confesses her love for The Priest and he tells her, "It'll pass," before adding, "I love you too," and walking away. Fleabag ends the series by having her break the fourth wall one more time by smiling at the camera.

Telling Variety that the "Hot Priest phenomenon" hasn't hindered his career, Scott says he feels "so proud of the process and the product."

The actor doesn't hesitate when asked if he'd return to a hypothetical third season if Waller-Bridge asked him to. "Of course I would," he says. "But she's not going to!" 

Indeed, when Waller-Bridge emerged from the 2019 Emmys a winner of several awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, she was firm in her decision to leave the series' end as is.

"I mean, to be honest, this just feels like the most beautiful, beautiful way to say goodbye to it, actually," Waller-Bridge said in the press room. "It does feel like the story is complete. ... It's so nice to hear that so many people loved it. I'm a bit like, 'Aw, damn it, maybe she shouldn't have waved goodbye at the end.' But it does feel right. It feels right to go out on a high, and you can't get higher than this."

Andrew Scott and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in 'Fleabag' - Prime Video

And when ET spoke to Scott on the red carpet about the possibility of a third season, he explained why ending the show now is actually a good thing.

"I think when something is beautiful and perfectly formed, there's no point. ... You'd be doing it for the wrong reasons, you know?" he said. "But Phoebe and I have plans to work together again. When we decide exactly what that is, you'll be the first to know."