Gwyneth Paltrow is the sort of well-mannered celebrity who never -- even in her gregarious 20s -- raised eyebrows by wearing her skirts too short, swaying boozily on a bar top or kissing a man w...Gwyneth Paltrow
is the sort of well-mannered celebrity who never -- even in her gregarious 20s -- raised eyebrows by wearing her skirts too short, swaying boozily on a bar top or kissing a man who wasn't her own. So the actress, 38 and the sort of conscientious mother who coordinates play dates from 5,000 miles away, relishes her misbehavior as a country star in her new movie, Country Strong
, which opens Friday.
``My life is all responsibility,'' says Paltrow, shrugging into a hooded sweatshirt and kicking off her three-inch heels after a performance to promote the film at Yahoo in Santa Monica, Calif. ``An amazing thing about playing Kelly was this abandon that she had. I envied it in a way. I'm so organized, and sometimes you feel like the responsibility you put on yourself is just gonna choke you. It was wonderful to play someone who, to everyone's detriment, just didn't have a care in the world.''
Paltrow's Kelly Canter is a train wreck with platinum records -- think Britney Spears
a decade from now, plus some twang and minus the intervention. Pulled out of rehab prematurely by her husband-manager (played by country star Tim McGraw
), Kelly attempts a comeback. But things get complicated when she takes a shine to a smoldering young man with a guitar (Garrett Hedlund
of Tron: Legacy
) and faces some fresh-faced competition (Leighton Meester
of Gossip Girl
This is Paltrow's first major lead performance in seven years, since she became mother to Apple, now 6, and Moses, 4.
``I've always been home, and I want to raise my kids myself, and you can't be starring in three movies a year. You know, it just doesn't work,'' says Paltrow, who moved her family to Nashville for the five-week shoot. ``I went for a week by myself, 'cause I thought there's no way I can get into this character with my toddlers running around. You come home from playing drunk and sobbing and you're like, `Hey, let's make a painting!' They're just two different worlds.''
Compared to its emotional rigors, the role's musical demands were more straightforward. Paltrow, who had sung in the movies Duets
, took guitar lessons while her children were in school. She watched Loretta Lynn
videos and consulted famous friends such as Beyoncé
and McGraw's wife, Faith Hill
, on everything from exuding magnetism to holding a microphone. (Curiously, Paltrow doesn't mention getting pointers from her musician husband, Chris Martin
of Coldplay, though he did write a song for the soundtrack.)
``I always think, `Well, she did it' -- Debbie Reynolds
or Judy Garland,
'' Paltrow says. ``People do it. So I think if they can do it, I can give it the college try.''
-- REBECCA KEEGAN
Los Angeles Times