Connie Britton – Not Playing the Age Card

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Extract from an interview with Nashville’s Connie Britton by Susan Dominus.

Connie Britton is a Late Bloomer

Britton spent the first three episodes of “Nashville” worried she made a terrible, career-altering mistake. She was particularly concerned about the way her character was being positioned — Connie Britton, playing an “aging country-music star,” a phrase she started seeing in countless blog posts and articles about the show.

Connie Britton, Nashville

“Honestly, it was a problem for me. I was like, the minute I’ve been referenced in writing as aging, I’m done,” she said. “I was furious about that.”

She was also concerned about the plot, which early on had Jaymes on a downhill slide, losing ground to a young, blond crossover star played by Hayden Panettiere. “That’s not even who I represent as an actor,” she said, sitting back in her seat. “My life started being awesome five years ago.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Scanlon for The New York Times

PHOTO CREDIT: Kevin Scanlon for The New York Times

The actors on a show like “Nashville” — even one with a producer’s credit, like Britton — have only so much leeway for push-back, but Britton consistently dug in during the early episodes. No, she told the director of the pilot, she would rather not stare at her face in the mirror and pull it back aggressively to see what she would look like with a face-lift. She was uncomfortable with what that bit of direction implied about the character’s self-doubt.

In the final take Britton does stare at herself in the mirror, and she does massage her face; but the scene registers emotions — fatigue, confusion — as opposed to the simulation of plastic surgery, a more interesting moment, as well as one she found less insulting. (Even still, Jaymes’s husband, noticing her looking at her face, tells her, “If you get plastic surgery, I’ll divorce you.”)

connie bf

In a scene in an early episode, in which Jaymes takes a long walk with an old flame, Britton deliberately resisted some lines in which her character expressed fears about being old. “Just drawing on my own experience, I never — I never — personally reference myself as old. I don’t think of myself as old, but I certainly would not say that to a man,” Britton said. “I might have a conversation with some girlfriends — what are we doing about the lines around our eyes — but to a man? There are certain things — it would just be demystifying and disempowering,” she said.

Connie Britton & Hayden Panettiere in Nashville

Source and full interview: ©New York Times

I love Nashville – glossy nonsense with catchy songs.  It’s true to say that 46 year old Connie more than holds her own against 23 year old Hayden Panettiere in the glamour stakes (even if she wears her hair the same way ALL the time).