News / Arts & Entertainment

    'Country Strong' Tells Story of Nashville Diva's Comeback After Personal Tragedy

    Gwyneth Paltrow in a scene from COUNTRY STRONG
    Gwyneth Paltrow in a scene from COUNTRY STRONG

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Alan Silverman

    Country music frames a new romantic drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow as a Nashville diva trying to come back after personal tragedy sidetracks her career. Here's a look at Country Strong.



    "Nashville's Kelly Canter left rehab early this morning. You remember the country music star was arrested a few months ago for drunk and disorderly conduct."
    "I feel okay, thanks."
    "Kelly, do you have anything else to say to your fans?"
    "I love you all. Thanks for coming out."


    Kelly Canter is a star in trouble. After a drunken onstage fall that causes her to suffer a miscarriage, she sinks into a haze of depression and substance abuse.

    "Do you care about Kelly? This is her last opportunity to turn things around."


    Tim McGraw in scene from COUNTRY STRONG
    Tim McGraw in scene from COUNTRY STRONG

    Her husband and manager James, played by real-life country star Tim McGraw, is determined to revive Kelly's career, even though the tragic events have irreparably broken their marriage. Gwyneth Paltrow says she was drawn to, but also afraid of playing the damaged diva.

    "I did feel fear at the beginning just because this character was in such a different place and was so different from me in so many ways," admits Paltrow. "But also I just didn't know how to do a lot of the things that she does, like play guitar and be addicted to pills and alcohol. There were so many things that I felt trepidation about taking on and doing believably. It was a big job for me. I've never prepared so much for anything and I was nervous when we started.

    Gwyneth Paltrow and Garrett Hedlund in scene from COUNTRY STRONG
    Gwyneth Paltrow and Garrett Hedlund in scene from COUNTRY STRONG

    Garrett Hedlund, on screen recently as the young lead of Tron: Legacy, co-stars as Beau, who comes into Kelly's life as a staff member at the rehab clinic. An aspiring singer-songwriter, he moonlights playing his songs at a local honky-tonk bar. Hedlund says it took months of practice and study to gain the confidence it takes to get on stage and sing for an audience.

    "It was all day every day listening to country [music] and getting every inflection of every song down," Hedlund says. "That makes it easier, I guess, but to be in the studio and sing the song week after week you find where it works and try to ride that wave. When you see that people are enjoying it, you enjoy it and you enjoy everything."

    Leighton Meester in scene from COUNTRY STRONG
    Leighton Meester in scene from COUNTRY STRONG

    Leighton Meester, a co-star of the TV hit Gossip Girls, plays Chiles, a young beauty queen who idolizes superstar Kelly and hopes to follow in her footsteps.

    The only key member of the cast with real country music experience is Tim McGraw, who does not sing a note as Kelly's husband-manager. A critic of most Hollywood movie versions of the music world, McGraw says the attempt at authenticity in Country Strong won him over.

    "It's a movie, so nothing is dead on, but I think what is really authentic is the music as it relates to each character," McGraw says. "I think that a lot of times in these films you can have really great music, but the characters kind of fall short or the storyline falls short so you don't believe that these characters can support that music; or, vice-versa, you can have these beautiful characters and story and then the music hits and you think 'there's no way that this music is really good enough in the real world to sustain these characters.' I think in this particular case you have really great characters who you get emotionally invested in and you really want to see what happens to them; and then you have this great music that you can believe, in the sort of fantasy world of this movie, that this music could create these people who want to be stars or this person who is a star or it could propel this guy to be a star."

    Gwyneth Paltrow in scene from COUNTRY STRONG
    Gwyneth Paltrow in scene from COUNTRY STRONG

    Texas-born Shana Feste wrote and directed Country Strong and says for the story to work the audience has to believe the characters really are in that music world.

    "The most important thing when I was casting this movie was that I found actors who could sing," explains Feste. "That was most important. I just didn't want to revoice anyone. I thought it was so cheesy and if you're going to make a movie about country music and you want it to be authentic you have to use the actors' real voices. What we ended up doing was the mikes were always live and we ended up, in the editing room, incorporating a lot of their live performance into their pre-recordings …just so it sounded like they were really performing at these venues. "

    Country Strong was filmed on location in and around Nashville, Tennessee  and many of the extras and background performers are real musicians, technicians and reporters who work in that capital city of American country music.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures