https://www.femalefirst.co.uk/movies/Garrett+Hedlund-10319.html

Garrett Hedlund has mixed and matched his roles throughout his career and from the success of Tron: Legacy he switches for the musical drama Country Strong.

He teams up with Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester in the Shana Feste directed movie.

– How did you get involved in this project?

I had been sent the script and told that, if I responded to it, Shana Feste would fly up to Vancouver where I was filming Tron: Legacy and meet with me. I remember reading the script and having tears in my eyes by the end.

I really wanted her to come up and have this meeting. I felt honored that she would come all the way up to Vancouver to meet with me. It’s tricky though. You read a tagline or synopsis that says, ‘A triangular love affair that takes places on a ten city tour’ and your immediate thought is to set it aside.

Or else they could have explained it a little bit differently. I find Shana so incredibly talented and wonderful. This being her second film, I feel so proud to be a part of it and proud for her.

– How did you prepare to play a musician?

The biggest thing was overcoming lack of coordination. I couldn’t play at the beginning and this guy Neal Casal, who’s the lead guitarist from Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, stopped by my place and four days a week we’d be playing early Hank Sr. songs and the Byrds or just things to play that had chord progression.

We’d go to the studio and record and chart the progression. That was for four months. Then I moved out to Nashville a month before the shoot and stayed at Tim’s ranch cabin.

Like anything, it takes time to gain the abilities and you’ve got to fall on your face so many times. You’ve got to look silly in front of so many people before you finally start finding the ability and finding confidence within the approvals of others.  

– Do you prefer playing dive bars or stadiums?

I prefer the dive bars. In most of these [movies], they cut in close to the fingers and they have a hand double just going at it. They’re mocking chords when the camera’s farther away. I was in fear that I would have to do everything on my own.

I was like, ‘These scenes are beautiful. I’ll work on these scenes but I can’t wait to do them with Gwyneth and Leighton and Tim.’ Performing, I thought, ‘Can we just get this over with?’

Our first time performing for an audience was at the stage, like the first musical scene in the film. I just remember having so much fun up there, but it also helps because I felt great about the songs. Having Hayes Carll there, whom I admire so much as a singer songwriter and who’s very parallel to this character, has a real Blaze Foley kind of grit to him.

When you’re confident and the songs are good, the audience enjoys it so it’s not hard for them to partake in just kind of really cheering and being genuine with it.  
    
– Were you a fan of country music?

I grew up on a farm. We had one radio station and it was all country. Tim McGraw would be filling the airwaves then and I’d be in the tractor listening to Tim songs and Faith Hill songs and then for him to play my father in Friday Night Lights.

I got up on stage with him in 2004 and sang, I Like It, I Love It. But I wasn’t a country singer. I was like, ‘Can I sing ‘Don’t Take the Girl’?’ He said, ‘No, you’re singing ‘I Like It, I Love It.’ You’ll catch on.’

So I’m up there just kind of mouthing with him, ‘I like it. I love it.’ His guidance within this was great. He said, ‘You just have to live and breathe country music. There are thousands of people out here who are incredibly talented just trying to gain success. You’ve got to meet the scales that are raised so high and really live and breathe country music.’

That’s what I tried to do. He let me stay at his cabin, which was just great because I got to work with the guitar coach out there – this guy Rob Jackson – who’s kind of the best of the best in guitar training.

I got to go to the studio every day and work with this producer Frank Liddell and engineer Luke Wooten. They work with a lot of incredible people. I was kind of taken in by these people who were trying to help me succeed the way I wanted to succeed and wanted to help me get there. Once they saw a possibility in it, we just sort of ran for that door.      

– What was it like going from shooting Tron: Legacy on a sound stage to shooting this film on location in Nashville?

It was close to a sixty or seventy day shoot for Tron on stage in the suit. You can’t even sit down during the day because of all the cables that divide the foam rubber and the electrical circuits.

We had these stools that were this tall with a bicycle seat on it. You’re looking at fucking blue screen all day. To be able to wear jeans and a Levi button-up shirt was exactly what I wanted.

I became family with so many of the locals when I was there because of that month before. By the time I was filming, I was going down to a lot of the Lower Broad spots and a lot of these young musicians or even the guys in my band, like Chris Scruggs, would be up at Robert’s every night.

Chris Scruggs is the grandson of Earl Scruggs who is like the godfather of the banjo. It’s a famous family. There was a documentary made about them in the ‘70s. Randy Scruggs played the guitar on my tracks for Chances Are.

It’s fucking Randy Scruggs! On YouTube there are black and white videos of him and Earl Scruggs and Bob Dylan all in a room playing and Randy Scruggs is just seventeen and won’t take his eyes off Dylan.

Now he’s playing guitar for me. The other band members, when they’d be up at Robert’s I’d go up and get up and sing a song. I was basically becoming a lot more comfortable with the auditorium scenes just by getting up on stage and doing it. One time at The Station Inn, I got up and, at the table right in front of me was this guy Jim Lauderdale, who wrote and played with George Jones.

He was in Gwyneth’s band as a guitarist and he was playing at The Station Inn and at intermission he said, I want you to play Chances Are and teach the band it and sing it for the audience.

I said, ‘Alright.’ There I am after six or seven months of learning how to play the guitar and now I’m teaching this band how to play it? I said, ‘We go from ‘G’ and then we jump down to ‘C’ and bring it back to ‘D’. Now just bring it again. Yup, that’s it, that’s it.’

We get up on stage and play it. Right in front of us are Gwyneth and Chris Martin and Caleb, the lead singer of Kings of Leon, and Faith Hill and Dierks Bentley. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. 

– What was it like filming On the Road?

Six months on the road. It was such a journey guerilla shoot with the most incredible family with Walter Salles directing.

He’s put such work into this film over the past six or seven years. I’ve been attached since September of 2007 trying to get this project made. On the first day on set, I was like, ‘We’re fucking filming ‘On the Road’!’

Today’s the day after we just finished. Yesterday morning I was driving across the Bay Bridge in a Hudson, wrapped at eleven, jumped on a plane to get back here, cut my hair and went straight to the Tron premiere.

It was unfortunate to be partial with the family you’ve come to just love so immensely on this journey. We went from Montreal to South America to Argentina to Patagonia up to New Orleans, Arizona, Mexico, Calgary, Montreal. We just wrapped in San Francisco. I watched the Fourth of July turn into Christmas.

– What did you like about your character in this film?

I liked the soul of him. He was kind of a young Kris Kristofferson. Sort of poetic and tender and just happy to be playing for a bunch of hard working people that like to have a beer while they listen to good music.

This was a happy home for him. I think I like the message of what he was about at the end of the day: choosing love over fame. That was a big one. When that line comes up in the film, I think the whole audience is going to be questioning that key line and formulating their own opinions of it.

– Are you going to keep playing music?

In my own time. It’s funny, I was on set and Terrance Howard came over to play a role in On the Road and we worked together in Four Brothers and became really close. He played a lot of guitar on that and I would just sit back.

He’s going at it; he’s phenomenal at the flamenco and Spanish guitar rhythm. The night he wrapped in Montreal, he came to my room with a bottle and a guitar. This time we took turns. We must have played fifteen songs apiece.

He’s like, ‘Garrett, why don’t you have your guitar?’ And I said, ‘My character, Neal Cassady doesn’t play the guitar. It’s all about the jazz and the writing.’

He goes, ‘Yeah, but Garrett does.’ That was the moment where I was like, I’ve gotta keep the guitar with me at all time.  

– Now that On the Road has wrapped, what other movies do you have lined up?

Nada. I’m very fortunate to be a part of these projects. Now I’ll be able to sit back and read some books and try to enjoy the time a little more than being tossed around.  

– Are you playing your favorite type of country in this movie? The singer-songwriter type?

Yeah, most definitely. Hayes Karll, who wrote Hard out Here and Turn Loose the Horses and Hide Me Babe I get to text him once in a while and see where he’s at in the world.

He’ll say, ‘Drinking in Virginia tonight. Was in Nashville last night. Hope you’re well.’ It’s pretty cool.

Country Strong is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now.


https://www.popsugar.co.uk/celebrity/Interview-Garrett-Hedlund-Country-Strong-Working-Gwyneth-Paltrow-Leighton-Meester-His-Small-Town-Roots-13148736

Garrett Hedlund is clearly one to watch in 2011. The actor recently wrapped shooting On the Roadalongside Kristen Stewart and debuts a pitch-perfect singing voice in Country Strong, which opened in the US yesterday, and will be released in the UK in March. He attended a special screening of the film last night in NYC, but I had a chance to speak with Garrett in Beverly Hills in December as he kicked off his press duties. I also chatted with Gwyneth Paltrow and caught up with Leighton Meester at the junket. It was held the morning after the Hollywood premiere of Tron: Legacy, in which Garrett also stars, and he admitted to being a little overwhelmed by his burgeoning fame, talked about growing up on a farm, and sang the praises of his leading ladies. Check out Buzz’s review of the film, and here’s what he had to say:

PopSugar: What was it like working with Gwyneth and Leighton?
Garrett Hedlund: It was wonderful. We’re so blessed to have these two. They’ve got such incredible voices, so that’s one thing, but also, they’re just so good. Gwyneth was so wonderful. From our very first scene, it was a tender moment, so we kind of really had to jump straight into it. She’s such a beautiful person and wonderful actress. Sitting there and being able to work with her, and listen and respond accordingly, and just have the moments we got to have, was the opportunity of a lifetime and just surreal. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, and also with Leighton. From the moment I read with her I was very excited . . . because I thought she brought such a genuine believability to this character and such a cuteness. An undeniable cuteness.

PS: You’ve had an incredible run of success that’s happened very quickly. What sort of pressure do you feel — or do you put it out of your mind?
GH: Last night was the most like that, I think. You know, walking down on Hollywood Boulevard, and the barricades being up and everybody roaring, was very similar to the experience that Beau [his character in Country Strong] had coming out of that concert. He’s caught by surprise at people with his picture, wanting his autograph. That was the most similar feeling I’ve had, so I’m glad I got to act it before I experienced it.

PS: You’ve got two such different projects out right now, Tron and now this. Can you talk about the contrast?
GH: It’s been a weird line of transitions, because for two years I was prepping for On the Road, so by the time I did Tron, I had to start a mass amount of training with capoeira, and parkour, and physical training, and motorcycles, and all the wire rigs. So the physicality came into play. The physical transition came in. And then, having wrapped that, going straight into the guitar and sitting back and feeling the soul of all these tunes and moving out to Nashville with the pulled pork . . . I ended up going up to 200 pounds for Country Strong. And after I finished, they said, “All right. Now you have five weeks before Tron reshoots.” And then I had to lose 30 pounds to get back into the suit.

PS: How did you drop 30 pounds in five weeks?
GH: This trainer Gunnar Peterson. This is maybe the second or third time I’ve trained with him, and he’s so good at what he does, he makes it easy. You’re laughing the whole time, not crying. Then I had to do On the Road, but I had to keep the facial hair to go to Nashville to do additional scenes for Country Strong, so while I’m at the bootcamp for On the Road, I got the beard going . . . It was so chaotic. It’s been such a multiple personality, sort of disorderly, year.

PS: Were you a country music guy before shooting Country Strong?
GH: I grew up in a very small Minnesota town, and we only had one radio station, and it was all country music. So that’s why it was, first, surreal on Friday Night Lights to be working with Tim McGraw, because “Don’t Take the Girl” was my favorite song. [I was] driving in the tractor and playing that, and next, Tim’s playing my father. I got up on stage and sang “I Like It, I Love It,” with him in Austin in, like, 2004, but I wasn’t a country singer by any means. I was really familiar with all the great, old men. I mean, my grandpa used to play Johnny Cash to our turkeys, and they’d start bobbing their heads to the music.

PS: What was it like when it actually came to performing [for the movie]? Those were some big crowds.
GH: The lucky thing about performing for these audiences was that I really, truly loved the songs. If you were singing a silly song, you would have felt silly, and everyone would have felt silly for you. The message in all these songs was something I felt very strongly about. But the first performance we had, I was kind of worried about. I knew the scenes were beautiful, and I put a lot work into the preparation of the singing, the soul, finding the internal rhythm of that. But the first concert we had to do at the beginning, the smaller one, was for rowdier people. But when the crowd actually likes the songs you’re singing, they just feel like they’re at another concert, so they’re just having fun. They get excited when a movie’s being filmed in Nashville, and you’re having fun with it and they’re having fun. I didn’t want to do any more scenes, I just wanted to keep performing!


https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2011/01/qacountry-strong-director-shana-feste

Shana Feste, writer-director of 2009 Sundance darling The Greatest, is out with Country Strong, a Nashville tale of a complicated foursome: a fallen superstar (Gwyneth Paltrow), her husband/manager (Tim McGraw), a rugged young songwriter (Garrett Hedlund), and a beauty-queen warbler (Leighton Meester). Feste sat down with *Vanity Fair’*s West Coast editor, Krista Smith, to talk about discovering Carey Mulligan, nabbing Paltrow for the lead, and how Hedlund just might be the next Brad Pitt. Highlights from their chat:

*Krista Smith:*Tell us how this idea came to you.

Shana Feste: At the time I was writing it, I was struggling with my own fear of what success would be like in this industry, and what fame would be like. My parents live in Texas, [where] they’ve been in the antique business, and when I was in grad school, I was selling antiques with them. We were selling Persian rugs at little tiny swap meets all over Texas, and I had my interview for the American Film Institute at a truck stop—

On your cell phone?

No, I was on a pay phone. I didn’t have a cell phone, because we were doing this antique show in this cow pasture, at this big huge flea market, and I kind of had this dream of going to the American Film Institute. So I got my interview and no one had a cell phone—the cell-phone coverage was terrible in this cow pasture—so I drove my dad’s truck to this truck stop in the middle of nowhere. Trucks were blasting in the background, and it was a very funny interview. But I got in, and I packed all my stuff up in a pickup truck and I left Texas. And I left both of my parents and I left a boy, and I had a lot of apprehension about what I was leaving—if I was making the right decision, and what would happiness mean to me. That’s where the genesis of Country Strong came. It’s my brother’s words: “Don’t go Hollywood on us.”

Had you gone to college before film school?

I went to U.C.L.A.—when my parents got a divorce, my mother stayed in Los Angeles, so she raised me here. I kind of spent the summers in Texas with my dad, and I did my graduate work at U.T. Austin.

At U.T., what were you doing?

Creative writing and screenwriting. At U.C.L.A. I had a boyfriend that was screenwriting, and I didn’t see him because we were both waiting tables at the time, and we never saw each other. I really wanted to spend more time with him, so I took a screenwriting class with him. I ended up loving it and doing really, really well. It was this class where you had to get asked back to do the next section, and he didn’t get asked back, but I did. It was the first kind of big problem that we had in our relationship.

Are you still with him?

No, no, no.

All right, so then you go back to Texas; meanwhile is your mom here in L.A. still?

My mom kind of followed me back to Texas. She’s actually with my dad right now, in El Paso.

Back together?

No, really bizarre. I mean they’re living together, but they’re not together. It’s so strange.

So A.F.I. was for screenwriting again or just for actually filmmaking?

It was producing actually—I went as a producer because I still, even though I was really intrigued by directing, I didn’t really have the courage to call myself a director. When I pictured a director, I pictured someone who knew about lighting and multiple camera set-ups—someone who just knew so much more than I did. [But then] I met all the directors in the directing program, and the only thing that separated them from me was just, like, a huge ego—these kind of 24-year-old boys who are calling themselves directors from, like, the womb. I was like, “O.K., well, I’m definitely going to call myself a director, then.” After I graduated from A.F.I., I wrote a script called Love Easy, and I attached myself as a director.

And what happened with Love Easy?

It was one of those indie films that we were about to shoot, we got financing, I had cast, and we were three weeks out, and it fell apart. It my first lesson: I can’t just have one project that I’m pushing, because my life is either amazing or horrible depending on what the status of my movie is.

For The Greatest, your first directing project, you had an amazing cast—I mean look at what Carey Mulligan has gone on to become—it’s just so exciting.

You know, I had a great casting director, and we just got so lucky. When I worked with Carey, she just finished doing An Education, and I hadn’t seen her in anything. I hadn’t even seen her in the footage from that movie—she just kind of came in and auditioned. There was just something immediately very special about her, and I felt very much the same way about Garrett [Hedlund] when I first met him. There was something very special about him.

And did you always think that when you met him that he was right for the character Beau?

You know, he didn’t sing, he didn’t play the guitar, he had only done a lot of action-driven films, and I had never seen him play a love interest. And we took a huge gamble with him, and it completely paid off. He took four months off, he took guitar lessons, and he came to my house to do monologues and scenes—I would get my video camera and would video tape him doing scenes. I mean, he was so incredibly dedicated. So many young actors just come in and are like, “O.K., I have my lines memorized. I’m here. I’m ready to do the scene,” and they think that’s all that it takes. Garrett is just up to do the work.

I really liked him in the movie, and we have him in the issue this month, actually. It feels like it’s his Brad Pitt moment in the movies, where you see him and you’re like, “Who’s this guy??”

That’s what Gwyneth said, too, after working with him.

Oh really?

Gwyneth was so taken aback by him, because there was a scene that they did that was just a very tender, sweet scene. It was in Dallas when they say goodbye to each other, and we were shooting Gwyneth’s side first. So every single take, every single angle, the camera was only on the back of Garrett’s head—and Garrett cried for her performance. I didn’t even know he was doing it, because the camera wasn’t even on him. Gwyneth afterwards was like, “Oh my God, that was so amazing, I loved everything you were doing—Shana, Garrett was crying in every single one of those takes.”

And how did you secure Gwyneth on this?

We kind of made our initial list of actresses we thought that could play this role, and Gwyneth just stood out. You don’t think of Gwyneth when you think of country superstar, but you do think of all the incredible performances of her career, so I knew that she could pull it off—I just thought she’d be a really interesting choice. I don’t think she should be relegated to playing Shakespearian roles for the rest of her career, just because she did it and she did it brilliantly. She has the chops to do character roles, and this was definitely a character role for her. She was really excited about being able to sing and play a role that wasn’t always likable.

So what’s next for you?

It’s definitely a departure from me—it’s called The Outlaws, and it’s about father-and-son bank robbers. It’s a character-driven crime film and something that I’ve always really wanted to write but never kind of had the guts to write. It’s a bunch of men with guns and I thought, Am I the right person to write this? And I started writing it, and I think I am.

Do you feel like you’re going Hollywood?

I feel like I’m counting stories that I would never get offered. I knew that after directing The Greatest, I would never get offered a musical. So I wanted to write Country Strong,—because I’m a writer, I get to write dream projects for myself, and I’m really interested right now, well, in my father. My father was a very unconventional father. He’s been in and out of prison, and our relationship is very fascinating to me. He had his first child when he was 15 years old, and the film that I’m writing right now is about a very young father. It deals with seeing what it’s like to protect your child and learn to become a parent, but it takes place in this world of high-stakes crime.

For you, when you’re writing, when do you write?

What’s weird is that this is the first time in my life that I never worked. When I was in A.F.I., I worked three jobs—I was working as a nanny and waiting tables and tutoring, so I would write in my car—I would write on my way to work and I would have all these little note pads, and I would scribble down ideas. Now it’s so bizarre, it’s the first time I don’t have to work, and I’m like, “Maybe I should get a job so I can start writing again.” I should get a job at, like, McDonald’s or something so I can start writing on my way home.


http://tasteofcountry.com/garrett-hedlund-kris-kristofferson-country-strong/

Garrett Hedlund‘s character Beau Hutton in ‘Country Strong,’ an up-and-coming singer-songwriter with onscreen romances with Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester‘s characters, struggles to find his place in the Nashville world, something Hedlund sees in another rambunctious songwriter who moved to Music City in 1965.

“[Hutton] reminded me of a young Kris Kristofferson,” Hedlund tells The Boot, “when he just moved out here with all of the stories you hear of Kris mowing lawns down on [Music Row] and all the ladies in the studios just googling at him out there without his shirt. You see little things like this that add to the soul, but also to the charm of someone.”

And like Kristofferson’s work, Hedlund acknowledges the poetic nature behind his character’s songs, such as ‘Chances Are,’ penned by Lori McKenna and Nathan Chapman.

“All these songs came into play to add to the poetic side of Beau [Hutton],” Hedlund adds. “Everybody saw his potential. I saw him as the heart of the film in that, because he’s constantly dealing with the joys and vicissitudes of this new life. He’s found himself in the middle of a lot of chaos, unknowingly, and having to deal with that.”

Aside from channeling Kristofferson, Hedlund also got his chance at performing live in some of Nashville’s hot spots. “I got up at the Station Inn with Jim Lauderdale and sang ‘Chances Are’ there,” he confides. “So that was one of the greatest nights of my life, because sitting at the table in front of me was Gywneth and Chris Martin, Caleb [Followill] from Kings of Leon and Faith Hill, and Dierks Bentley was standing up behind them. I got home, and I had to work at five in the morning the next day, and I woke my mom up, and I said, ‘Guess what just happened?'”

Hedlund shares the screen with Paltrow, Meester and Tim McGraw — the latter someone he acknowledges as extremely supportive and helpful. “If that character [James Canter] wasn’t played by Tim, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do what I did in the film,” Hedlund admits, who previously collaborated with McGraw in the 2004 film ‘Friday Night Lights.’ “I owe a lot to him. I guess there’s some expectations when you’re playing for Tim that make you work a little bit harder.”

‘Country Strong’ premieres in theaters nationwide today, Jan. 7.


http://theboot.com/garrett-hedlund-interview-country-strong/

Actor Garrett Hedlund plays up-and-coming singer-songwriter Beau Hutton in the new film, ‘Country Strong,’ co-starring Gwyneth PaltrowTim McGraw and Leighton Meester. For the role, which he sandwiched between two other movies, he learned to sing and play the guitar, and he even has a song, ‘Chances Are,’ on the film’s soundtrack, which he sings with such conviction that it is hard to believe he has not been performing his whole life. Even one of his co-stars, whose main career is in music, has been very complimentary of his newly discovered talent.

“People are going to be really blown away by Garrett,” Tim McGraw told The Boot. “His music is so soulful. I would kill for his voice.”

A Minnesota native, Garrett grew up on a small farm, and in the ninth grade, he and his family moved to Arizona, where he began taking acting classes. The young talent graduated from high school a semester early and moved to Los Angeles. He made his mark in movies just one short month after moving to Hollywood, when he was cast in the feature film, ‘Troy.’ He then appeared alongside one of his musical heroes, Tim McGraw, in ‘Friday Night Lights.’ He has gone on to appear in the urban drama ‘Four Brothers,’ the female-led ‘Georgia Rule,’ the otherworld fantasy ‘Eragon,’ and now ‘Country Strong’ and ‘Tron: Legacy.’

Garrett’s role as Beau in ‘Country Strong,’ which opens nationwide January 7, is a janitor in a rehab facility by day and a honkytonk singer by night. He finds himself in a romantic entanglement with Gwyneth’s character, fallen country star Kelly Canter, who is in rehab to combat her drug and alcohol problems. She is taken out of rehab a bit too early by her husband James, played by Tim, and Beau suddenly finds himself on the road doubling as both opening act and caretaker for Kelly. In the meantime, he starts falling for the other opening act, beauty queen-turned-country novice Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester).

The Boot recently sat down with Garrett to talk about learning to play the guitar, working with Tim and Gwyneth and what drew him to the role of Beau Hutton in the first place. He also revealed his love for the city of Nashville and his plans to someday live there, as well as recalling the “greatest night of his life,” which was performing at one of Music City’s most revered clubs. The charismatic actor also tells us a spine-tingling story behind the song ‘Chances Are,’ which he performs in the movie and more importantly, at the deathbed of his most important fan.

We understand for your role in this movie, you auditioned by singing karaoke?

It was sort of like that. I was given the script saying if I responded to the role that [writer-director] Shana [Feste] would fly up to Vancouver to meet with me, because I was working on ‘Tron’ at that point. We went to a little country bar, and I expressed my feelings towards the script, because by the end of it, I had tears in my eyes. She asked if I’d be willing to put in the work necessary for the role, and I said, “100 percent, undoubtedly.” So I ended up taking her over to a karaoke spot and I got up and sang ‘Better Man‘ by Pearl Jam. [laughs] I get back to the table, and she goes, “That wasn’t country!” But it was my go-to, I guess.

So you already knew you could sing, but you had to learn to play guitar.

Rob Jackson, the guy that was training me on guitar, said, “Now, you’re not gonna be another one of those Hollywood guys getting up and playing a ‘G’ when we’re singing a ‘C.'” [laughs] So, I didn’t want any hand doubles or vocal doubles, and I wanted it to be genuine.

Obviously, Tim has successfully crossed over from music to movies. Would you be interested in crossing over from movies to music?

Not necessarily. I really enjoyed my time in Nashville, and the hospitality of this city and being able to stay out in Franklin on the ranch and work on the tunes and have great people to work with. Frank Liddell was the producer on it, and a guy named Luke Wooten did the engineering, so to be with these guys, it was such a wonderful experience. At the end of the day, it was a role for me and I was really pleased with what we acquired. But if somebody said, “Hey! Would you come over and sing this with me?,” maybe that would be something fun … but no personal plans.

You mention living out on a ranch … and it was not just any ranch!



Yeah, it was Tim McGraw’s ranch, and he let me stay there and have as much time as I wanted to myself, just to get that experience, rather than being in a hotel downtown. I’d be out there with this guy Bobby, who lives on the ranch and maintains it. We would be in the back of the barn shooting clay pigeons and riding around on the wheelers, and I’d go over to [local restaurant] Puckett’s every night and watch a lot of the people get up and play while eating a little pulled pork. Then you look out the window every morning and see Hank Williams‘ old plantation home. The feeling was just much more there. Once you feel it, then you know that there’s a lot of big shoes to fill and also a lot of expectations — not really expectations from Nashville, but just me expecting myself to not let Nashville down.

You’ve worked with Tim McGraw before in ‘Friday Night Lights,’ and in a recent article, he was very complimentary about your acting and said that you were destined for great things. What did you think of Tim’s acting in ‘Country Strong,’ especially since ‘Friday Night Lights’ was one of his first major roles? Did you see any progress from then until now?

Yeah, which I’m sure he’s seen in me, as well. It’s always a confidence thing. It’s knowing your way around the territory. It took me a while. You get on this thing, and you think it’s all about the acting and this and that, but there’s a lot of technicalities, and once you know all those, the set becomes much more of a home than a strange land. Tim, in this, he’s such a driven person. I wouldn’t say a perfectionist, but he always wants to do the best he can ever do, be it music or this, and to have that on set is great. He’s always been so supportive of me, and I owe him so much for what he gave me in this film. It’s so strange, if that character wasn’t played by Tim, I don’t think I would’ve been able to do what I did in the film. I owe a lot to him. I guess there’s some expectations when you’re playing for Tim that make you work a little bit harder.

What were your preconceived notions about Nashville, and how did they change once you arrived?

I had never heard much about Nashville before coming out here, and that’s why it’s so surprising, because I’m the biggest enthusiast on the city of Nashville now. I’m looking for a place out here to live. I came in this week, and I call one member of the band, and he calls all the other ones and all of a sudden the band’s back together hanging out, and a lot of people who were involved in the recording process. We’re all just sitting at a table and I raise my glass and say, “Cheers, but this cheers means a lot more to me because I’d rather be sitting here seeing you guys than you seeing me, and you probably mean more to me than I do for you.”

For me, and this may not be everybody, but because I do love country music so much, there’s such a feeling of home in Nashville, especially because it’s such a small town. You bring up one song, everybody knows who wrote it, everybody knows their mother and what their cell number is, and all of the stories. You can go anywhere and be incredibly entertained by the music. Every artist out here has something great to contribute to the city, and everybody I feel is in it together.



What were your favorite spots in Nashville?

I liked going to Robert’s to see some night gigs. Chris Scruggs, who was playing the steel guitar on this, he’d get up there once in a while, and the whole band would go down and some of us would get up with Chris. I’d get up to sing. And the Station Inn, I loved. I loved going to see the Time Jumpers and Vince [Gill] playing on Mondays. I got up at the Station Inn with Jim Lauderdale and sang ‘Chances Are’ there. So that was one of the greatest nights of my life, because sitting at the table in front of me was Gywneth and Chris Martin, Caleb [Followill] from Kings of Leon and Faith Hill, and Dierks Bentley was standing up behind them. I got home, and I had to work at five in the morning the next day, and I woke my mom up, and I said, “Guess what just happened?” It was great!

What was it that drew you to the character of Beau Hutton, who has been described as the “heart of the movie?”

At first, it was just seeing the opportunity to play a poet. We had the blessing of having such wonderful singers and songwriters contribute, like Lori McKenna and Nathan Chapman, who wrote that one, and Hayes Carll, who I just think is like a god in terms of a great new singer-songwriter. All these songs came into play to add to the poetic side of Beau. Everybody saw his potential. I saw him as the heart of the film in that, because he’s constantly dealing with the joys and vicissitudes of this new life. He’s found himself in the middle of a lot of chaos, unknowingly, and having to deal with that. Also, he reminded me of a young Kris Kristofferson, when he just moved out here with all of the stories you hear of Kris mowing lawns down on [Music Row] and all the ladies in the studios just googling at him out there without his shirt. You see little things like this that add to the soul, but also to the charm of someone.

What was the dynamic like between you and Gwyneth Paltrow?

I haven’t worked with a lot of big female actresses whatsoever, so this was an incredible experience to work with just a wonderful actress, somebody who listens so wonderfully. She was always so sweet to me, and to be there with her, you have less worries when you know who you’re with, not who you’re up against, but who you’re in this together with. You both work and do the best you can do and express a character to the fullest of which it was hoped to be expressed. That’s why you’re cast to work as hard as you can work to overcome this obstacle and complete the objective of a wonderful film and a wonderful piece. It was a great experience.



You read the script for ‘Country Strong’ while working on ‘Tron: The Legacy,’ alongside Jeff Bridges, who won an Oscar for playing a country singer in ‘Crazy Heart.’ Did you get any guidance from him?

I did towards the end, since I didn’t play anything and I knew I’d have to audition. I almost wanted to say, “Jeff, would you just play the guitar and maybe we could set up a camera and we can sing together?” It wouldn’t be me singing by myself. It was great to see him in the trailer playing guitar and singing these cool songs and just seeing him as an example of where to get to; that’s already setting the standard so high and then you come down here and see all of these incredibly talented people in the bars on Lower Broad. It’s like, “God! Doesn’t the world know how good some of these people are?” But it was fun! Jeff taught me how to play ‘I Don’t Know,’ that Stephen Bruton tune from ‘Crazy Heart,’ and showed me some other ones. When ‘Country Strong’ was all said and done and we wrapped, and I saw Jeff again, we were just jamming to all these songs.

You have a song, ‘Chances Are,’ that you sing in the movie and on the soundtrack. How did you connect with the song on a personal level?

Nathan Chapman and Lori McKenna wrote it, and it is such a great song. My grandpa was in the hospital and I said, “I’m going to come visit.” He said, “I’m not making her through this one, feller.” And I said, “Well Grandpa, I’m going to be there in two days.” He said, “Naw, I ain’t making her through this one.” So, the next day I called and he couldn’t talk any more, so they put the phone on speakerphone and I sang ‘Amanda‘ by Waylon Jennings, because it’s my sister’s name and she meant the world to him. I sang that once for him and once for the nurses. [laughs] He seemed to be trying to move his lips and his eyes, and the next day I called back and I played ‘Chances Are’ for him. And as soon as it got to the point “I’m not the worst love that’s making, but better at the breaking, a guy like me knows how to disappear,” he passed away. So now he’s with me going through the journey. For me, every time I performed the song, it made me appreciate every time I got to sing it. Every time was meaningful.if(typeof AOLVP_cfg===’undefined’)AOLVP_cfg=[];AOLVP_cfg.push({id:’AOLVP_us_704778991001′,’codever’:0.1,’autoload’:false,’autoplay’:false,’playerid’:’61371447001′,’videoid’:’704778991001′,’publisherid’:1612833736,’playertype’:’pageload’,’width’:476,’height’:357,’videotitle’:’Test’,’bgcolor’:”});

You’ve got ‘Country Strong’ and ‘Tron’ in theaters at the same time. What’s next for you?

I’m a little beat now, because I just worked for six months straight on this film, ‘On the Road,’ the Jack Kerouac novel. It was an incredible experience around the world. Playing this character, Neal Cassady — that’s Dean Moriarty in the book — it’s such an infamous, rich, vibrant, rare role. We were in Canada to South America, back up here — New Orleans, Arizona — down to Mexico, back to Canada and over to ‘Frisco. I’ve been on that since 2007, so I’ve been prepping for that this whole time; that’s been three or four years of preparation and research. It became a little hard at times, too, because being on that one, then jumping onto ‘Tron’ and ‘Country Strong’; you’ve flown this kite so high in terms of prep and everything you read — all of Proust, Twain, Wolfe, Kerouac, Cassady’, Ginsberg and Burrows — and all the jazz research. You fly this kite so high that you’re scared, and you think you have to tie it to a post and hope it’s there when you come back to it. Ultimately, I had to read everything all over again just to have it fresh. I wrapped that the day of the ‘Tron’ premiere. I had to go straight from Frisco to L.A. for the premiere, and then the next day an all-day press junket for ‘Country Strong.’ I was just like, “Whew!” So, everybody was going, “So, ‘Tron,’ huh?” And I’m just like, “I want to go home and cry, I’m so tired.”


There’s no turning back for Garrett Hedlund. The 26-year-old, who left his parents cattle farm in Roseau, Minn., in 2003 to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles, is bound for Hollywood stardom, thanks to his breakout roles in “Tron: Legacy” and “Country Strong,” which opens in theaters this Friday. The Moment met up with the actor in a nondescript Brooklyn diner, the kind of place that Hedlund says he pictured himself working in if the whole acting thing hadn’t worked out.

Your career is at a pivotal point. What would you say is one of the biggest obstacles you had to overcome since you started acting?
My biggest thing has always been privacy. With an interview such as this where the questions are about me, I struggle to express myself. I have an immediate answer in my head of what I’d say, but sometimes I feel that it would be too honest. So these wheels of censorship start going around my head.

Have you always been such a private person?
I guess so. I grew up on a farm in a small town where you do or say one thing and everybody knows about it. You see it happen, there’s always the town gossip oh did you hear about so and so, or did you hear what went on in this household? So I learned at a very young age just to keep my mouth shut.

Jeff Bridges, who plays your dad in “Tron: Legacy,” won an Oscar shortly after you guys finished filming. Is there anything that you learned from working with him?
I learn from everyone I work with. I always enjoy watching how people react in specific situations, and if they are as comfortable on set as they are off set. With Jeff it was just nice to be working with an actor that listens and reacts working with somebody that knows how the scene is supposed to go and isn’t married to the dialogue. You try to stick to the dialogue, but sometimes getting the point across is more important.

How did you prepare for your role in “Tron: Legacy”?
The physical demands for preparing for this role were very extensive and lasted through the entire film. I had to get my motorcycle license, and go to motorcycle training every morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and then drive two miles away to go do physical combat training: punches, knees and kicks. And then go into hard-core training for an hour, jumping over things and lifting weights for an hour.

So you got in great shape. That doesn’t sound so bad.
[Laughs] Yeah, I guess. But then for “Country Strong,” as much work that I put into getting in great shape, I had to put in to get into the exact opposite shape.

What was it like working on two completely different films back to back?
“Love Don’t Let Me Down,” which is the original title of “Country Strong,” was just as difficult emotionally as “Tron” was physically. I play a country singer that basically gets on tour with Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, who is one of the biggest country stars out there, and she’s fallen down too many times and it’s an intense emotional story.

And what did you have to do to prepare for this film?
We filmed in Nashville for two months, and we got there a month early. Tim McGraw has a cabin out on his ranch so I stayed there for the month of December, and kept up with all the guitar rehearsals, ’cause I never knew how to play the guitar before. For four months after “Tron,” I sang and played the guitar every day.

Do you own a motorcycle now or play the guitar?
No. I loved the Ducati Sport 1000 I got to drive in the film, but driving a motorcycle in L.A., knowing how wild I can be at times, would be just a little too careless and selfish for my life. Being able to split the traffic and the freeway seems like something I might like a little too much. But the guitar I’ll keep up. Not publicly performing, but as a private passion. It’s too fulfilling for me to stop.

How is your life in L.A. when you are not working?
I don’t really leave the house that much. When I’m away filming, I never really get to watch any films, or I slip away from my books and the novels I’ve been wanting to read, so when I get home I really just kick my feet up and read everything I meant to read and write what I couldn’t write, or watch what I just couldn’t drag myself to the theater to watch when I was in a different city.

What are you currently reading?
I’m working through getting through all of Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.”

Would you ever go back to living in a farm?
Yeah. I feel that everything that pulled me to the city slowly pushes me away from it, and everything I grew up with that pushed me away from the farm is what’s pulling me back. The peace and quiet and the freedom that I actually never realized meant as much as it did. We didn’t have any neighbors for miles, woodlands to run around in. We had a lot of things to catapult our imagination when you didn’t even know what imagination was. Life’s too short when you find yourself sitting in a car for four hours every day trying to get from East L.A. to West L.A. to Hollywood and then back to East L.A.


http://tasteofcountry.com/garrett-hedlund-chances-are-country-strong/

Garrett Hedlund — with previous roles in movies ‘Troy,’ ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘Tron’ — shows guitar strumming  skills as Beau Hutton in ‘Chances Are,’ the theme song for the upcoming flick ‘Country Strong.’

Since he had never previously played an instrument before, he had to recruit Neal Casal, a singer-songwriter, photographer and sideman for Ryan Adams. Hedlund spent over four months with Casal in Los Angeles, honing his strumming and plucking skills for his role on the big screen.

Once he relocated to Nashville six months before filming, Hedlund tried out his character and performing talents at bars such as the Nashville’s Station Inn. But by watching the video below (including clips from the film), we can tell it’s a natural role for the Minnesota native, who grew up listening to Tim McGraw. “I’d find myself walking out of class, singing his songs,” Hedlund tells W Magazine. “And then Tim ended up playing my father in ‘Friday Night Lights.’ It was surreal.”

Hedlund plays Nashville country singer Beau Hutton, who’s considered for the opening act slot on Kelly Cantor’s comeback tour; he later develops onscreen romances with Cantor (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester).

‘Country Strong’ hits Nashville and Los Angeles theaters today, Dec. 22, and nationwide on Jan. 7, 2011.


https://www.cinemablend.com/new/Interview-Country-Strong-Garrett-Hedlund-22491.html

In Country Strong, Garrett Hedlund plays Beau Hutton, a deep-voiced singer-songwriter trying to make his way into the world of country music. Throughout the film you can hear him singing in dive bars and on huge stadium stages; he even has a song on the film’s soundtrack. The catch? He’s never had any musical training before taking on the role. 

The last month has been an absolute whirlwind for Hedlund. Three years after his last film, Death Sentence, was released, the young actor has seen the release of Tron: Legacy; will see Country Strong expand to theaters nationwide tomorrow and has completed production for On The Road. Lucky for us, he was more than willing to talk about it. Sitting in on a roundtable interview with the actor, he talked all about it and more, including the incredible talent he got to meet and play with while working on the film. Check out the interview below. 

What made you take on this project?

I’d been sent the script and been told that if I responded to it Shana would fly up to Vancouver where I was, I was filming Tron [Legacy] at the time, and meet with me over it. I remember reading the script and having tears in my eyes by the end of it. I really wanted her to come up and have this meeting. I felt honored that she would come all the way up to Vancouver to meet with me on it. It’s tricky you know, it’s like your read a tagline or a synopsis that says “triangular love affair that takes place on a 10 city tour” Your immediate thoughts are to set it aside or else they could have explained it a little bit differently. But Shana’s just so incredibly talented and wonderful and for her to write this and direct it the way she did and it being her second film I just feel so proud to be a part of it and proud for her. 

Did you have any musical experience before this role?

No. The biggest thing is overcoming the uncoordination. I couldn’t play at the beginning. The guy Neal Casal who’s the lead guitarist for The Cardinals from Ryan Adams and The Cardinals had stopped by my place and four days a week we’d be playing all day, early Hank Senior songs and just things to play that had chord progression and we’d go to the studio and record to chart the progression. That was for four months and I moved out to Nashville a month and a half before and stayed at Tim’s [McGraw] ranch, a cabin, and it just like anything it takes time to gain the abilities. You’ve gotta fall on your face so many times and you gotta look silly in front so many people before you finally start finding the ability and finding confidence within the approvals of others. 

How does it feel to have played dive bars and stadiums?

I prefer the dive bars. It was great. I remember throughout the preparation for the guitar thinking in my mind alright, most of these guys I always see them cut in close to the fingers and obviously they have a hand double just going at it. They’re mocking chords when the camera’s further away and I was imagining this in fear that I would have to do this. Like I wanted to be able to do everything on my own. It was like these scenes are beautiful and I’ll work on these scenes and I can’t wait to do this with Gwyneth, Tim, and Leighton, these scenes. But the performing now, can we just get this over with? Our first time of performing for an audience was at The Stage [On Broadway], well the first one was “Silver Wings” but the first one we filmed was at The Stage. I just remember having so much fun up there but it also helps because I felt very great about the songs and having Hayes Carll who I admire so much as a singer-songwriter, who’s very parallel to this character, who has a real Blaze Foley kind of grit to him, so playing the songs and when you’re having fun and you’re confident and when the songs are good the audience enjoys it so it’s not hard for them to partake and just kind of really cheer and be genuine with it. 

Were you a fan of country music before making this film?

I was. I grew up on a farm where we had one radio station and it was all country. So that’s why Tim McGraw would be filling the airwaves then, and I’d be in the tractor listening to Tim’s songs and Faith’s [Hill] songs and then for him to play my father in Friday Night Lights and I got up on stage with him in 2004 and sang “I like it, I love it” but I wasn’t a country singer you know? I was like, “Can I sing don’t take the girl?” He said, “No, you’ll sing ‘I like it, I love it.’ I said, “But I don’t know the words to it.” He’s like, “You’ll catch on.” “But why can’t I sing don’t –?” “You’re not singing ‘Don’t take the girl!’” So I’m up there kind of mouthing with him [singing] I like it, I love it. But then his guidance with this was great because he just said you know “You’ve just got to live and breathe country music.” There’s thousands of people out here who are incredibly talented trying to gain success, so you need the scales that are raised to high. To really live and breathe country music. I got to work with this guitar coach out there, this guy Rob Jackson who’s kind of the best of the best in guitar training out there and then go to the studio everyday and work with this producer Frank Lidell and engineer Luke Wooten. I’ve been working with a lot of incredible people. So I was kind of taken in by these people who were trying to help me succeed the way I wanted to succeed. Once they saw a possibility we just started running for that door. 

How was going it from shooting on a Vancouver soundstage for Tron Legacy to being on location in Nashville for this?

It was close to like a 67 or 70 day shoot for Tron on stage, in the suit. You can’t even sit don’t during the day because of all the cables that divide the foam rubber and all the electrical circuits. We had these stool that were tall with a bicycle seat on them and you’re just looking at a blue screen all day. And then to being able to just wear some Levi’s jeans and a button up it, it was exactly what I wanted. It was different. 

It was more real, because you were actually out in Nashville making country music.

Yeah, I’d become a family with so many of the locals out there are well when I was there because of that month before so by the time we were filming I was going to a lot of the lower broad spots and a lot of these young musicians, or even the guys in my band like Chris Scruggs would be up at Robert’s every night. Chris Scruggs is the grandson of Earl Scruggs, who’s like the Godfather of the banjo, and Randy Scruggs. You know it’s a famous family. There was a documentary done about them in the seventies, Randy Scruggs played the guitar on my tracks for like “Chances Are” and stuff like this. I mean on You Tube there’s like black and white videos of him and Earl Scruggs and Bob Dylan all in a room playing and Randy Scruggs is just 17 and won’t take his eyes off Dylan and now he’s like 57 playing the guitar for me. 

The other band members when they’d be up at Robert’s or something I’d go up and I’d get up and sing a song. Basically, I was becoming a lot more comfortable with the auditorium scenes by just getting up on stage and doing it. One time at the Station Inn I got up and the table right in front of me, well this guy named Jim Lauderdale, he played a lot with George Jones. He was in Gwyneth’s band as a guitarist and he was playing at The Station Inn and at intermission he took me back and he said , ‘I want you to teach my band how to play chances are and get up and sing it for the audience.” I said, ‘All right.’ So there I am after six or seven months of learning how to play the guitar now I’m teaching this band how to play. We get up on stage and play it and right in front is Gwyneth and Chris Martin and Caleb the lead singer of Kings of Leon, and Faith Hill, and Dierks Bentley. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. 

What do you like about your character Beau?

I like just the soul of him. He’s kind of a young Kris Krisstoferson. Sort of poetic and tender, and just happy to be playing for a bunch of hard working people that like to have a beer while they listen to good music. This was a happy home for him. I think I like the message of what he was about at the end of the day. Choosing love over fame. That was a big one. When that line comes up in the film I think the whole audience is going to be questioning this key line and formulate what their opinion is on it. 

With all this musical training is this something that you’re going to keep doing?

Of course on my own time. It’s funny because I was on set and Terrence Howard came up to play a role in On the Road, and we’d work together on Four Brothers and we became really close and he played a lot of guitar on that and I would just sit back. He’d play and teach — show me how to play but I couldn’t. The night we wrapped in Montreal he came to my room with a bottle and a guitar, and now we got to take turns. We came up with a thing like, “You play one. I’ll play one.” We must have played 15 songs a piece. 

Have you wrapped On The Road

I just did yesterday morning 

So what was that experience like?

It was a guerrilla shoot with the most incredible family. Walter Salles directed it and he’s put so much work into this film over the last six or seven years. I’ve been attached since September of ‘07 trying to get this project made. Being on set during the first day like, “We’re fucking filming On the Road to today’s the day after we just finished it. It was unfortunate to part with a family you’ve come to love so immensely on this journey. 

Now that you’ve wrapped that film, what do you have coming up next?

Nada. I’m very fortunate to be a part of these projects and I’m very proud of them, and I’ll be able to sort of sit back and read some books that I haven’t caught up on and try to enjoy the time a little more than being tossed around.

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