When Tim McGraw talked to CMT Hot 20 Countdown about his new movie The Shack, the conversation went down three paths: McGraw’s role as Willie in the film, his role as the story’s narrator and his role as a songwriter for the film’s theme song, “Keep Your Eyes on Me.”
“As a singer, I’m a storyteller,” McGraw said. “So to be able to tell the story on different fronts, to be able to act in the movie as an actor — but also to be able to narrate it — was pretty special to me.”
For the acting, McGraw knew that to play the role he was given in the faith-based feature film, he needed it to be his very best.
“I think that was first and foremost in everyone’s minds while making this film: Serve the story, serve the movie, and bring emotion to it when you do it,” he said. And in the scenes he shared with his co-star Sam Worthington, he added, “I was so struck by his presence and his intensity and his depth as a character, and I think it made me rise up.”
Then for the narration inspiration, McGraw pulled from his love for the 1970s TV series The Waltons.
“One of my favorite parts of The Waltons was John Boy’s narration at the end of the night every night. And he would tell the story about everything that happened and what went on,” he said. “That was something I always loved, and getting the opportunity to do that was pretty special.”
And for the songwriter role, McGraw joined forces with his wife Faith Hill, Lori McKenna and Shane McAnally to parallel the emotional rollercoaster that happens throughout the story.
“We tried to write a song that sort of equaled the arc of the movie in a lot of ways and showed the pain and the struggle in the beginning, and the enlightenment at the end,” he said. “And the hope and love at the end of the song.”
The Shack is in theaters now.