Hayden Panettiere is set to play a fresh-faced country superstar on the rise in the fall-due drama, “Nashville,” but she batted away rumors her character is a take-off on Taylor Swift.
“I’ve heard the Taylor Swift thing quite a bit,” Hayden said at the ABC panel for “Nashville” at the Television Critics Association summer tour in Beverly Hills on Friday, referring to the comparisons. “And I think aside from being around the same age and blonde, not even height, I mean, very different, very different.
“And I think you guys, once you see her and get to know Juliette, my character, a little bit better, you’ll see that,” she continued. “But I really think Taylor would disagree wholeheartedly as well. She’s much nicer than my character.”
In fact, in the pilot for the show, Hayden’s Juliette is nothing like Taylor’s public persona.
For starters, Juliette is immediately insulting of Rayna James, the reigning country queen played by “Friday Night Lights” actress Connie Britton, before Hayden’s character goes on to sleep her way across the “Nashville” landscape.
The show will incorporate songs every week, with help from T-Bone Burnett, and Hayden said fans of other genres shouldn’t be fearful of the country music tag.
“You get the comment all the time, ‘Well, what if you don’t like country music?’ And one thing I think we’ve all learned is, being especially down in Nashville and working with such talented singers and songwriters, you realize how broad the term country music is,” she said. “You don’t have to be a fan of country music. There’s soul and there’s blues and there’s bluegrass and it really is a wide variety. It’s American… And I think people will realize that… they like this kind of music.”
“Nashville” premieres October 10 at 10/9c on ABC.
-- Jolie Lash