***Disclosure: I received an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood to cover various Disney/ABC TV events. However, all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Okay, so I don't know about you, but I am an avid music lover. I listen to everything from rap and R&B to metal and classic rock, to show tunes and oldies, and literally everything in between. I grew up in a very musical family, so I definitely have a great appreciation for musical talent, regardless of the genre.
So imagine my surprise when I learned that I would get to talk with the the producers of Nashville, Dee Johnson and Callie Khouri , who also writes the show! We also got to view a VERY early screening of the Season 2 finale! ( I can't give too much away, but let me tell you, this is intense! There are twists and turns that even the most devoted Nashville fan wouldn't ever see coming!)
If you haven't seen this hit ABC show, there's still time to play catch-up in time for Season 3! (Yep! ABC has officially announced that Nashville will be back for another season!)
Here's some more info about the program:
ABC’s “Nashville” stars Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor, Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad, Eric Close as Teddy Conrad, Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad, Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne and Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes. (ABC/Bob D’Amico)
In this series, we follow the careers and lives of several characters based in Music City. You'll meet Rayna James, a country legend whose career is slowing down, as well as her family. (This includes ex-husbands, boyfriends, and of course, her beautiful daughters.)
You will also meet some fresh, young stars who are eager to sing their way to the top of the charts. My favorite character would have to be Juliette Barnes, a rising teen star played by Hayden Panettiere. Why do I like Juliette so much? Well, she is quite damaged, and has been through a lot in her short life. She wants to be a better person, but doesn't always make the best decisions. I can definitely relate to her, as I was the same way in my younger years.
In the episode before the finale, "All or Nothing With Me", Rayna sets up a wonderful live show to benefit our nations troops. The families and soldiers in this episode aren't actors, either...They're REAL US service-people, and they have sacrificed much to help preserve our freedoms. I love the fact that Nashville filmed this episode as a way of honoring these real-life heroes.
Anyway, the show is all set to go, but then Luke finds out that Juliette will be performing. This doesn't make him very happy at all, since he pretty much sees this young starlet as an absolute train-wreck. (Can you really blame him, though?) He is worried that her motivations for performing during this special show are completely self-serving.
However, Luke overhears Juliette talking candidly to a soldier about her father, a Black Hawk pilot, who gave his all for this great country when she was only 4 years old. Of course Luke has a change of heart and asks her to sing. The performance was amazing!
And then there's the season finale...Oh Lord, I would love to spill my guts here and tell you what happens during this very emotional episode. I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time, and even got a bit teary in some parts. (Thank God for waterproof mascara!)
So if you want to know what happens, be sure to tune in to the Nashville Season 2 Finale. It airs on Wednesday, May 14th on ABC TV. Grab some popcorn and some tissues and enjoy!
Chatting with the Talent and Producers :
Like I mentioned, in addition to seeing the Season 2 finale episode of Nashville, we also got the opportunity to chat with the producers, Dee Johnson and Callie Khouri.
We had plenty of questions for them, and they were more than happy to answer. One of our biggest questions had to be how they feel about bringing country music to a broader audience. (Since not everyone is a country music fan.) Here's what they had to say:
"So much of the music that is in our show isn’t necessarily what you would call country music. I, having lived in Nashville and my family living there, the thing that made me want to do the show is that there is all of this great music that is kind of stuck in Nashville that you never get to hear. It’s not going to make it to country radio. We have a few songs that would probably be on country radio, but most of them are the really great, heartfelt songs that you wouldn’t necessarily find on country radio. I love that our show is a platform to get that music out there because there are so many brilliant songwriters there and so much that you just wouldn’t call country. I don’t know exactly what you would call it, but it’s not what people think of as straight country music. I wasn’t concerned about it because I know how many good songs there are."
We were also curious to find out how the show's characters would be evolving and changing next season. (I personally wanted to know if Juliette was going to turn from the misunderstood, bad girl into a more likable good girl.) Here's what the ladies had to say about the evolution of these characters:
Does anybody think that Juliette is cured? To me it is important to keep these characters real. That is the whole thing for me with this show that I don’t want to do a cartoon about Nashville. I want to do real characters. I want to show the evolution of people. Juliette is two years older now. There has to be some kind of maturation otherwise it’s boring. When we are all in a room together and we make a decision she is going to sleep with Jeff , it hurts me a little bit, which I know makes it good. It is important to me that these characters evolve in a real way. We can always bring more people in if we really decide to put the Good Witch Glinda hat on Juliette. (Which we’re not, by the way.) She is so damaged.
We also learned that the actors and actresses in Nashville can actually SING! That's right. There are no voice-overs here. The songs being performed are truly being performed by the talent on the show. (Who knew Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton could belt out a ballad like it's nobody's business? I sure didn't!)
Here's what we learned about keeping the music authentic by allowing the cast to sing their hearts out, as well as how they cast the stars for the series:
Well, it was pretty intensive. I know I wanted Connie Britton and I honestly wanted her so much that I cast her without ever having heard her sing. When I met with her the first time she said, “Wow, it has been a long time since anybody has paid me to sing. ” And I was like “they paid her to sing!” In terms of Sam and Claire and Chip – all of them had to sing at their auditions. I had never met Sam in person until the first day he was on the set. He sent a tape from England. The same thing with Claire. I didn’t see her first audition. We had a really hard time. I saw so many people for the role of Scarlett. It’s really specific. I was getting really disheartened after seeing way too many people that could sing but still didn’t have that quality. It was a lot that we were asking for. To sing really, really well AND act. When Chip came in, from day one he was my guy and I had to convince everyone else that this guy who had mostly done comedy would fit that role. He fit the role for me, but other people weren’t so sure.
Pretty awesome, right? Well, the folks at ABC had another surprise in store for us. Out of nowhere, in walks Eric Close, who plays Teddy Conrad! Sure, Teddy isn't very likable at times, but Eric himself was such a sweetheart! He was happy to chat for a few minutes and fill us in on what it's like playing his character on Nashville. You know...The guy that everyone loves to hate.
“It’s fun to play the tool. It’s very different in a movie, when you have your beginning, middle, and end right in front of you. I’ve been doing TV for 20 years. It’s like one giant movie that could run 8 years. I love that aspect of TV. You hope that every year something changes and your character is reinvented.”
So do you think that Teddy will turn into the nice guy in Season 3? Maybe Juliette will change her scandalous ways? Hmm... I guess we will just have to wait and see! I for one can't wait to see how these characters evolve over the next season, as well as see how certain obstacles are overcome. Sorry if I can't be more specific....I don't do spoilers.
If you want a taste of what's coming up for the Nashville crew, be sure to watch the Season 2 Finale TOMORROW night at 10:00PM EST on ABC! Trust me. This is going to be HOT!
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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