Tim McGraw Originally Opted Out of ‘Country Strong’
This morning, Tim McGraw sat down for an interview with 'Good Morning America' host Robin Roberts. The country singer joked around in addition to discussing his newest film role in 'Country Strong.' McGraw portrays James Canter, the vulnerable husband and manager to Kelly Canter, played by Gwyneth Paltrow.
When the 'Good Morning America' cameras first flashed to McGraw, the fun-loving musician was laying on a couch holding up a 'Vote 4 Roseanne' sign, referring to the show's previous guest, Roseanne Barr, and her political ideas. McGraw kept the jokes coming as the interview began. As a lead in, 'Good Morning America' played one of Gwyneth Paltrow's songs from 'Country Strong,' to which McGraw jokingly responded, "That singer is a pretty good actor!"
Although most of the interview was light-hearted, McGraw did discuss some serious stuff, including the fact that he was originally torn about accepting a role in 'Country Strong.' "I mean I loved the script. It was written so well and the characters were so rich," said McGraw.
"You know, it’s tough, and I think hopefully I’ve gotten past this part of it, where a producer or director or somebody looks at me and their first thought is not if I’m gonna be a distraction when fans come to the theater," McGraw continued. "But I just thought that putting myself in the world that I come from and trying to play a character might be too much to ask of [an] audience -- to separate the two. I had a lot of confidence in Shana Feste, the director, and in the cast around me so that’s what really swayed me."
Host Robin Roberts then went on to say that she didn't want to like McGraw's character, James Canter, but that you can't really help but feel for him. McGraw responded, "Well I think, for me, my approach in this character was I didn’t think he was a bad guy at all. In fact, I sort of looked at it that he was the only grown-up in the film and he had to make all of the tough decisions."
"And I thought, given his circumstances and the situation he was in, he was trying to make the best decisions that he could," he went on to say about his role. "You might not agree with everything he did, but at least you can empathize with it. And that, for me, is the greatest accomplishment or the best thing that you could hope for, is that you create empathy for a character."
The interview then took another comical turn, as Roberts asked McGraw about a prank he had played on his co-star Gwyneth Paltrow on the set of 'Country Strong.' "There is a scene where we’re in the dressing room and she [Paltrow] has to hit me," he said. "We did the take a couple of times and one time I sorta leaned in a little too quick and too close and I got nailed. She’s got a good right hook!"
"So the next day, I had my makeup artist paint a black eye on me," McGraw laughed. "I walked on set to get ready to shoot, and of course they [Gwyneth Paltrow and Shana Feste] were mortified. She [Paltrow] was almost in tears she was so sorry about it. Finally, I let it go on for as long as I possibly could, probably too long, and I said to them, 'You know, the good thing about a black eye when you’re in the movies is that you can just wipe it off.' And then I wiped it off and really got beat up. I had bruises everywhere!"
As the interview wrapped up, McGraw spoke about how music has always been his number one passion and how thankful he is that music opened the door for him to explore acting. McGraw also spoke about his possible upcoming role in a film that will co-star Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. What attracted McGraw to the film? "I get to kill somebody!" McGraw said with a smile. He and the 'Good Morning America' chuckled as he mischievously said, "I've got some people in mind."