Gwyneth goes country

Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow plays a fallen music megastar in “Country Strong,” which afforded her the opportunity to perform with Oklahoma luminary Vince Gill.
BY BRANDY McDONNELL bmcdonnell@opubco.com Published: January 7, 2011

— With her latest film project, Gwyneth Paltrow joins a prestigious roster that includes Barbra Streisand, Mark Knopfler, Del McCoury, Diana Krall and Carrie Underwood.

The Oscar-winning actress is pleased to be added to the long list of luminaries who have made music with Oklahoma-born and bred Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill.

“I adore Vince Gill, and he was so supportive of me. It's like if you look at how Vince Gill was to me during that performance, it's like that encapsulates country music. It's like that warmth and support. He was great,” Paltrow said in a recent interview at the Four Seasons Hotel.

In November, Gill backed Paltrow as she made her live debut singing country music at the 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards. In front of an audience of the genre's shining stars, the unlikely duo played guitars and belted out “Country Strong,” the theme song of her new country music drama.

“I loved it. It was like one of those moments I think I'll always just look back on and think, ‘I can't believe I actually did that.' You know, it was sort of an once-in-a-lifetime thing. It was crazy. It was really exhilarating and fun and just unexpected,” Paltrow said of performing on the CMA Awards. “Like, if you had told me a year ago that I would have performed at the country music awards, I would have bet against it. It was a wonderful surprise.”

In “Country Strong,” Paltrow stars as fallen country superstar Kelly Canter, who has struggled publicly with substance abuse. Her aloof manager-husband, James (Tim McGraw), pulls her out of rehab early to start her comeback tour, but Kelly refuses to go without her lover, Beau (Garrett Hedlund), an aspiring singer-songwriter who works as an orderly at her rehabilitation facility. She also envies her opening act, James' beauty-queen-turned-singer protege Chiles (Leighton Meester). With Kelly still coping with the tragic consequences of her addiction, the tour bus is bound for an emotional wreck.

Despite her high-profile supporting role as Pepper Potts in the “Iron Man” movies, Paltrow has limited her film roles over the years to focus on mothering her two children with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. She was compelled to go country after reading writer-director Shana Feste's script.

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