Toby Keith Sees the Big Picture at Broken Bridges Premiere

Red Carpet Event in Downtown Nashville Attracts Droves of Faithful Fans

Several hundred fans from throughout the nation gathered Thursday night (Sept. 7) in downtown Nashville and packed the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue to see the stars arrive for the world premiere of Toby Keith’s first feature film, Broken Bridges.

Co-stars Kelly Preston, Lindsey Haun and Anna Marie Horsford and film director Steven Goldmann were also on the red carpet for the event at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

Broken Bridges, released nationally to theaters on Friday (Sept. 8), tells the story of former high school sweethearts (portrayed by Keith and Preston) who return to their hometown following the deaths of their younger brothers. Keith is cast as Bo Price, a country music singer whose career is fading. Finding themselves in the same town, Keith’s character meets his 16-year-old daughter (played by Lindsey Haun) for the first time. The reunion forces all three to deal with the past and the future.

Keith drove himself to the event in a Ford truck, a nod to his longtime corporate sponsor which also served as a sponsor of the film’s premiere. Casually dressed in black jeans, black T-shirt and a familiar straw hat, Keith waved to the crowd before walking the red carpet where TV crews were lined up elbow to elbow to gain access to the celebrities.

Upon her arrival, Preston immediately walked across the street to greet fans, shake hands, sign autographs and pose for photos. As a seasoned actress, Preston has plenty of experience at film premieres. In addition to her starring roles in films such as Jerry Maguire, The Cat in the Hat and Addicted to Love, she has no doubt attended a few premieres for films starring her husband, John Travolta.

Prior to the screening, Preston offered the audience inside the Ryman a brief critique of Keith’s acting abilities.

“I can’t wait for you to see how great this boy is,” she said. “It’s his first movie, and you’d never know it. He’s a real pro.”

“We kind of brought Hollywood to Nashville,” Keith said of the premiere. He acknowledged the key players responsible for the film but made a point to place the spotlight on its director. “He hasn’t gotten his due,” Keith said of Goldmann. “But, by God, he’s getting it tonight,” Keith said. As a music video director, Goldmann has won numerous awards, including CMA and ACM prizes for Faith Hill’s “This Kiss.”

Fans in more than 100 cities also saw an early screening of Broken Bridges during a special satellite presentation Thursday that also included pre-recorded musical performances by Keith and Haun. While fans were watching in the U.S., the film and special were also being delivered via satellite to military bases throughout the world, including Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq.

Written by the husband-and-wife team of Cherie Bennett and Jeffrey Gottesfeld, Broken Bridges also stars Burt Reynolds, Willie Nelson and Tess Harper and is a project of Paramount Classics and CMT Films.

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.