VIDEO: Hayden Panettiere Is A Smash On ABC's 'Nashville'
Nashville premiered on ABC last night to rave reviews for stars Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights, American Horror Story), 45, who plays aging, curb-bound, wise ol' country crooner Rayna Jaymes, and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes, I Love You Beth Cooper), 23, who shines as wicked — but not entirely without reason — newcomer Juliette Barnes, who is itching to get out with the old and get in with the new.
The result is what many consider a new, believable take on an old onscreen phenomenon of female competition that dates back to Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in All About Eve or, more recently, Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester in Country Strong — and that one even has a country music theme.
Panettiere brings the required sass and slight evil edge to her role as Juliette. Upon meeting Britton's Rayna for the first time, she can't help but mention that her mother is a fan of the older woman's albums, moments after she gushes over an older male star and heavily flirts with a young scrap of a bearded thing who is almost certainly going to turn out to be trouble.
At the same time, Panettiere has compassion for her character that she hopes to impart to the audience. "I don't want people to hate her," she told Zap2it. "My goal is for people to love her and understand her and be compassionate for her."
The compassion angle is far from impossible. A few minutes after Paniettiere's Juliette debuts her all-too-obvious bitchy side, we get a glimpse into what made her the way she is — for one, a substance-abusing mother with whom she obviously has some problems. "How did she get my number?" Juliette yells at one of her personal assistants when she receives a call from mommy dearest. "Isn't it part of your job to make sure she does not have my number?"
Mommy issues could make for a really interesting dynamic between Juliette and Rayna, who will undoubtedly end up touring together.
As for the rumors that Juliette Barnes is based on real life newbie country crooner Taylor Swift? Entirely untrue, says Panettiere. “I’ve heard the Taylor Swift thing quite a bit. And I think aside from being around the same age and blonde, we’re very different,” she said, reports PopCrush. “I think once you see her and get to know my character a little bit better, you’ll see that. I really think Taylor would disagree wholeheartedly as well. She’s much nicer than my character!”
In the meantime, it's been heavily implied that Britton's character is a conglomeration of the Faith Hill / Reba McEntire / Shania Twain paradigm of country music. Guess we'll have to watch to find out.
See a clip of Nashville here:
Nashville airs on ABC Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST.
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