No matter where he goes, Garth Brooks keeps his watch on Oklahoma time.
The music megastar, who has spent much of the past decade as a stay-at-home dad, does it for his three girls, so he knows what time to call them when he's away from their Owasso ranch.
But Brooks' heart has always been set in Oklahoma, no matter where his increasingly diverse career has taken him.
â€œOne of the greatest gifts is being raised there, living there. It's real life, and it reflects in everything you do,â€ he said in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where he was appearing on â€œThe Tonight Show With Jay Lenoâ€ to promote his latest project, a TV movie based on his 1990 hit ballad â€œUnanswered Prayers.â€
The telefilm will debut at 8 p.m. Monday on Lifetime. The Tulsa-born Brooks and Lisa Sanderson executive produced the drama for their Red Strokes Productions.
â€œSince the song came out, we've had the West Coast calling about making a movie about this thing. But every time they brought us a treatment, it changed the song dramatically,â€ Brooks said.
Tanya Lopez, head of Lifetime's original-movie division, believed his country song could translate directly into a timely universal drama.
â€œShe fought like hell to keep this thing exactly like the song was ... and so anything she wants to do in the future, I'm in.â€
Filmed in Virginia, the movie centers on a contented small-town husband and father (Eric Close) whose life is shaken up when his high school sweetheart (Madchen Amick) returns, forcing him to choose between his lost dreams and his loyal wife (Samantha Mathis).
Telling a personal tale
The song, which Brooks co-wrote with Pat Alger and Larry Bastian, appeared on the country superstar's blockbuster sophomore album â€œNo Fences.â€
Brooks, 48, has said in the past the ballad was based on a real encounter he and first wife Sandy Mahl had with his â€œold high school flameâ€ in October 1989.
â€œI think it's about the choices that we make in our life and looking back on those choices. You know, that hindsight's a 20/20 thing. Well, sometimes you get a real, live shot at seeing someone again. Or if it's a job, a real, live shot at taking that job again down the line that you either didn't get or passed up. ... I think it's just kind of (about) how we sit with our own choices,â€ said Brooks, who divorced from Mahl in 2001 and married fellow country star Trisha Yearwood in 2005.