Eleven of the stars from ABC’s "Nashville" gathered Tuesday night in their show's namesake city to dish dirt on both the production, and each other. While no significant spoilers were revealed from the show's second season, which resumes tonight (Jan. 15), the stars had a lot to say about how they landed their gigs, and what they think of their characters, the city and one another.
Joined by the show's executive producer Callie Khouri and musical supervisor Frankie Pine, the cast members were brought together at Nashville recording studio Ocean Way for a Sirius XM "Town Hall" event in front of an audience of contest winners.
Khouri shared some interesting information about the show's original casting. Sam Palladio (Gunnar), for example, auditioned by video, and Khouri never laid eyes on him until they began shooting the pilot. Jonathan Jackson (Avery) sang a couple of U2 songs in his audition for the show and "blew us away," she said. And despite being Khouri’s first choice, Lennon and Maisy Stella, the Canadian sisters who play children Maddie and Daphne on the show, couldn't get work visas in time to shoot the pilot, which was completed with other actors. But after a video of the Stellas performing on YouTube got millions of hits, the visas came through in time to them to re-shoot those scenes from the pilot.
Here are some of the night’s best quotes:
• Clare Bowen (Scarlett) on shooting the show in Nashville: “It's kind of like shooting a Western in the desert.”
• Charles "Chip" Esten (Deacon) on the cast members being approached by fans around Nashville, where the show is actually shot: "They do it in that Southern, had-a-few way."
• Connie Britton (Rayna) on the cast bonding in Nashville: "We all came together and have this common goal, and then to get to do it in such a joyous place ... we've become a family.”
• Callie Khouri on being told the country star characters and story lines on the show are realistic: "I’ve had a couple of really big stars come up to me and say, 'You [must] know some country music star REALLY well.' Others have said it's hard to watch."
• Connie Britton on the cast members' real-life inspirations for their characters: "I don’t think there’s anyone in the cast who modeled their character after one person." With so many real-life country stars all around them, she said, "There’s so many characters to choose from ... to pick and choose the juicy parts."
• Australian Clare Bowen on her upbringing: "I’m from the deep, deep south." And emulating Southern fans' reaction when she speaks with her real Australian accent: "Oh my god! You're foreign!" Bowen also revealed that she perfected her American Southern accent as a child by repeatedly watching the films "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Song of the South."
• Charles Esten shared that earlier in his career, he was cast in a role that involved him using an Australian accent. With no idea how to do it, he randomly phoned the Hyatt Regency in Sydney and read his lines to the concierge, then asked him to repeat them back so he could hear how they should sound.
• After someone used the expression "all hell breaks loose," Callie Khouri quipped, "That could be the other title of the show."
• Ten-year-old Maisy Stella (Daphne), on co-star Clare Bowen's real-life lacy, flowing wardrobe: "I love it. She dresses like a fairy."
• Finally, each of the actors was asked what one thing they hope their characters get to do in the upcoming season. Judith Hoag, who plays Rayna’s sister, Tandy, got a big laugh when she said she hopes her character "gets laid." Added co-star Eric Close (Teddy), "I’d like to see Teddy help Tandy fulfill that wish."
"Nashville" returns from its winter hiatus Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 10:00 PM ET on ABC.