While I was on the Walt Disney Studios lot last Monday, I had the chance to sit down with Nashville’s Executive Producers, Dee Johnson and Callie Khouri (who also happened to create the series, too!), as well as actor Eric Close, who plays Teddy Conrad…after seeing the season finale over a week early (I know…how LUCKY am I?). My Nashville viewing and interview experience was part of the #MillionDollarArmEvent and #ABCTVEvent with Disney/ABC. Although my travel and accommodations were covered, all thoughts (and excitement) are my own.
Are you a Nashville fan like I am??
I LOVE Nashville, and not just because I love country music (have you heard the soundtrack? I love all of the songs!). I was thrilled to find out that we would be able to see the season finale early (the finale airs on ABC Wednesday 5/14 at 10pm ET). And – WOW – what a finale!
When we were chatting with Executive Producers Dee Johnson and Callie Khouri, we asked for a quote or teaser about the finale that we could give our readers. This is what they had to say:
Last year we went out with an explosion. This year we wanted all of the explosions to be emotional.
Expect an emotional roller coaster for the Nashville finale! And, no…I’m not going to give any spoilers.
About the Nashville Season 2 Finale:
“On The Other Hand” — As Will Lexington’s album climbs the chart with the help of Jeff Fordham’s deep pockets, Rayna enlists Teddy’s help to plan a huge, free concert at LP Field to draw attention to her Highway 65 debut. She will perform with Luke Wheeler and duet with Juliette before thousands of fans. Zoey, Avery and Gunnar rock out at a benefit for Deacon’s favorite charity, Sober House, and Avery plans to serenade Juliette with a song he wrote for her. But when he attempts to sing it, he doesn’t understand why she is not present. And Scarlett makes a decision about her future in Music City, on “Nashville,” WEDNESDAY, MAY 14 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network.
We chatted with Dee and Callie for several minutes after the finale ended before they hit us with a surprise of epic proportions. See my instagram post when a special guest walked through the door, just behind my shoulder:
You think Teddy is attractive in Nashville? He’s ten times as good looking in person!
Eric Close on playing Teddy Conrad on Nashville:
Eric Close plays Mayor Teddy Conrad, Rayna Jaymes’ ex-husband (Rayna is played by the gorgeous and talented Connie Britton). We have seen Teddy’s character evolve quite a bit through the two seasons. At times he’s been the character everyone hates, but lately Teddy has been showing a softer side.
Eric Close commented, “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.”
Dee and Callie chimed in, “The actors don’t know what their characters are going to do until they get the script. You put charcters in one situation and they’ll be a total jerk. You put them in another situation and they’ll be the best person ever. You can evolve characters and take them on a journey over several years. Start a character in one place and take them to a different place entirely.”
Speaking of characters evolving, we also talked about another Nashville star that has seen a ton of growth over the last few years. Juliette Barnes (portrayed fabulously by Hayden Panettiere) began Season 1 as the antagonist. She was the beautiful, talented, and deeply scarred girl everyone loved to hate. Lately, Juliette hasn’t felt like the “bad guy” anymore. No one thinks that Juliette is cured. She’s evolving.
Concerning Juliette, Callie and Dee said, “It’s important to keep the characters real. I don’t want to do a cartoon about Nashville. I wanted to keep the characters real. Juliette is 2 years older now. It’s natural that she is growing up. It’s important that these characters are evolving in a real way. Don’t worry – We’re not putting the “good witch Glenda” hat on her. She’s damaged.”
What’s in store for Nashville going forward?
Did you see the exciting news I shared on my Facebook wall this weekend?
I’m so excited to see what goes down in Season 3, especially after everything that happened in the Season 2 Finale. Callie and Dee explained that in Season 2, we saw the characters’ worlds cross over a bit and so we were more focused on our central cast. “I don’t think we want stories going all over the place. Core group, original cast.” That’s what we’ll have more of going forward.”
What if you’re not a country music fan?
We asked Callie and Dee if they were worried about attracting viewers who don’t like country music. I loved what they had to say (and I totally agree – Nashville is about so much more than country music…even though that music is so good! And with a cast that sings all of the songs on the show? That’s a crazy-talented group they’ve gathered!):
“So much of the music in our show is not really considered country music. There’s so much great music that’s “stuck” in Nashville (ie, the real Nashville). There are so many great, really heart-felt songs that would never make their way onto country radio. I love that our show is a platform to get that music out there. There are so many brilliant song-writers there.”
Tune in May 14 for the Season 2 Finale!
If you’re a Nashville fan, be sure to tune in Wednesday night, May 14 at 10:00pm Eastern Time on ABC to see the “emotionally explosive” season finale. If you’re not a fan YET, then start today! In fact, several of the ladies in our group who had never seen Nashville before last week commented that after seeing the last 2 episodes of season 2, they couldn’t wait to see more!
About Nashville’s Executive Producers:DEE JOHNSON, executive producer: Most recently Dee Johnson was executive producer and showrunner of the series “Boss.” She began her writing career on “I’ll Fly Away” and continued to rise in the ranks, writing for such acclaimed series as “Melrose Place,” “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” “The Profiler,” “Any Day Now” and “Southland.”
In addition to pursuing her own development slate, Johnson has also served as executive producer on “Commander in Chief,” the Emmy Award-winning series “ER” and “The Good Wife.”
CALLIE KHOURI, creator and executive producer: Callie Khouri galvanized women and sparked nationwide debate in 1991 with the hit movie “Thelma and Louise,” her screenwriting debut, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. She received the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Writers Guild of America Award and a PEN Literary Award for Best Original Screenplay. “Thelma and Louise” took home the London Film Critics Circle Award for Film of the Year, and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Her second picture, released in August 1995, was “Something to Talk About,” starring Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid and Robert Duvall. Her directorial debut was “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” starring Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, which she also adapted for the screen. In 2006 Khouri collaborated with legendary television producer Steven Bochco and wrote and directed the television drama “Hollis and Rae.” She has directed her second feature film, entitled “Mad Money,” starring Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah.
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