On Wednesday evening, Belmont hosted the cast and crew of ABC’s show “Nashville” at a season premiere viewing in the new movie theatre of the R. Milton and Denice Johnson Center.
Around 150 Mike Curb College students and faculty members had the opportunity to sit down with the cast and crew 30 minutes prior to the premiere in addition to watching the show together.
The panel included “Nashville” actor and Belmont dad Chip Esten, Oscar-winning creator and writer Callie Khouri, executive music producer Buddy Miller, music supervisor Frankie Pine and writer Taylor Hamra.
Answering various questions about character development, music production and the creation of the show, the panel provided insightful responses to budding music business and entertainment industry studies students.
When asked about the inception of the show Khouri explained she had written and directed two pilots prior to “Nashville” that were not shot.
“I never expected at any point along the way that it was actually going to become real until I got the call that we were going to be shooting the pilot,” she said.
After receiving the call, the crew was assembled and casting began immediately.
Jonathan Jackson, an actor on the show who was also in attendance at the premiere, gave a traditional audition which landed him the part.
“I’ll never forget about Jonathan Jackson’s audition, he came in and sang a couple of songs and it was just so great because you get your mind blown over and over again,” said Khouri.
Then there were those like Sam Palladio who took the non-traditional route in auditioning.
“Sam, we cast on tape, they literally sent a link, he was in London or somewhere in England and we were like, if this guy is half in good in person as he is on this, then we’re done, we found him.”
Often known for stealing the show, the music plays a major role in the production of Nashville. With the cast set in stone, a team of music producers and writers began finding songs that allow each character a unique musical quality.
“All our characters are different and they should each have their own sound,” said executive music producer, Buddy Miller.
Miller is the man in charge of the creative process, deciding what songs are fitting for the shows and assuring each character has their own unique qualities.
In the end creator Callie Khouri got the call, Nashville was picked up for another 13 episodes, which meant they had to prove themselves to ABC.
Indeed, they did, 4 seasons later, 5.16 million viewers and winner of the Critics’ Choice Television Awards for Most Exciting New Series, Nashville has generated into a city and nationwide favorite.
This story was written by Meg MacDonald. Photo courtesy of Belmont University Office of Communications