The Nashville cast and crew have created more than 100 episodes, and with each new episode has come new memories they will cherish forever. As we prepare for the June 1 return of the show’s fifth season, we thought we’d fill you in on some of our favorite fun facts and set secrets from over the years.
1. Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor) first learned how to do a Southern accent by watching American movies her pilot father would bring back to her in Australia. Her favorites were Song of the South, Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes.
2. The building that houses the set for the concert stage/arena used to be a Dillard’s department store warehouse.
3. Charles Esten played an original song and a Blake Shelton song when he auditioned for the role of Deacon Claybourne. He then met Hayden Panettiere in the waiting room, who had been listening to his audition and cheered for him when he walked out. He joked to her then that he would see her on the set, and a few months later, that was true!
4. Actor Tilky Jones, who played Juliette’s husband (a notoriously brief marriage) in season 1, described Hayden Panettiere as a “prankster”. She also once hosted an episode of Punk’d, where she played pranks on Dianna Agron, Zac Efron and Snooki.
5. The actors don’t typically know what’s coming for their character until they begin to shoot the episodes. According to Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne), it helps them to “be in the moment.”
6. The set of Rayna’s home was built based off of a real home in Belle Meade, a Nashville neighborhood where the pilot of the show was shot. The cast and crew will still return to the real house for exterior shots. You can take an online tour of the real house here.
7. The set of the Bluebird Café is an exact replica of the real cafe, and the real owner of the Bluebird is often asked to play the hostess on the show.
8. Some of the trucks the crew use to move equipment to their different sound stages are branded for the different characters, so they can also be background props when filming exterior shots when the characters are at a tour stop.
9. Jonthan Jackson’s dad was a singer and recorded a country album in Nashville.
10. Maisy Stella (Daphne Conrad) was the one who auditioned for the show, and she was auditioning for the role of the older daughter. Her sister Lennon had helped her memorize her lines and come to auditions with her, which is when the casting people met her. The Stella family then received a phone call asking if Lennon could come back and audition as well, and they changed the ages of the daughters to fit Lennon and Maisy.
11. Once Lennon and Maisy got the parts of Maddie and Daphne, they thought they wouldn’t be able to take them because they were Canadian and didn’t have the proper visas to work in the U.S. Once they posted their cover of “Call Your Girlfriend” (which they had prepared for their school talent show) to YouTube, the video went viral and the great press from it helped them to get the visas!
12. Sam Palladio’s first audition for Nashville was a tape he made in his bedrooom at 4 a.m. He didn’t think he had much of a chance, but he thought it was worth a shot. The producers came back saying they loved him but asked him to resubmit a higher quality video.
13. Maisy was so worried about messing up her lines in season one, she remembers googling “Do people get mad when you mess up a line?”
14. After the cast got the news that ABC had cancelled the show after the fourth season, they got together with the producers and the writers to reminisce and listen to songs they had recorded for the show.
15. The crew uses curtains of high-res photos of the real city of Nashville outside of their sets, which can be seen through the windows on set.
16. Lennon and her mom Marylynne wrote the song “In Love” for Season 5 with Sarah Siskind, who co-wrote “A Life That’s Good”, which has been featured on the show several times.
17. When Jonathan Jackson auditioned for the role of Avery Barkley, he sang and played guitar on two U2 songs, “Desire” and “One.”
18. An artistic crew member drew a caricature on the exterior of the set of Scarlett and Gunnar’s original house to show how many different characters had lived in the house over the course of the show.
19. It’s rumored that nearly every man on the show that Juliette has slept with has been dressed with the same watch.
20. Chris Carmack auditoned for the role of Will Lexington by playing the song “City Boy” by Keb’ Mo’. He also did not know that the character Will was gay at the time of the audition. Show creator Callie Khouri called him after he was offered the part to explain Will’s story arc, which he was really excited about.
21. Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott) and Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor) first met in the lobby of the Hutton hotel in Nashville, where they met with Buddy Miller, the show’s then executive music producer. They then went to a conference room in the hotel and immediately began rehearsing “If I Didn’t Know Better.” The duo recorded the song the next day, which was the first time Bowen had used a recording microphone.
Don’t miss the mid-season premiere of Nashville June 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. For all the latest news and information, head over to the official Nashville Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation using #NashvilleCMT.