Nashville’s Sam Palladio: “I had a crush on Hayden Panettiere… then I started working with her!”

Nashville has been one of the success stories of the past year – the US series about country music scene might not sound like our cup of tea on paper, but its razzle-dazzle soundtrack, bitchiness, beautiful people and super-addictive storylines


by Paul Hirons |
Published on

Throughout the first series, we saw faded country music star Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) being asked by her record label to support new young, best-selling star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) on tour after her own records don’t sell so well.

Rayna put her career at risk by rejecting the idea of a joint tour because she can’t stand Juliette’s new style of ‘bubble-gum country’. And, sure enough, the two women came into conflict when they tried to sign up the same guitarist, Rayna’s bandmate and former lover, Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten). Ooh!

Brit hunk Sam Palladio, 26, plays sensitive-boy-with-a-dark-side Gunnar Scott, and the man from Cornwall has enjoyed overnight stardom in the US thanks his movie-star looks and musical talent.

And with Nashville winning awards left, right and centre, it could be the best show you’ve never seen.

Nashville has been such a huge success, have you got to pinch yourself?

It’s been an amazing, life-changing year for me. I can’t believe what’s happened in the last 12 months. I’m back home in Cornwall at the moment, and it’s so nice not to have people hounding me on the streets, like they do in Nashville. I took my to Washington recently for their first ever trip to the US, and the cast performed at the President’s Ball, and met the President. I was in the White House with my parents! That’s just an example how life has changed.

What did the cast and crew think of this Brit on set? Did you have any problems with the accent?

I felt a lot of pressure because I’d come straight to the States after never having really auditioned. But I was lucky – Americans have a soft spot for Brits, so I was made to feel very welcome and I felt very comfortable in the Deep South. Doing accents is all about listening, and thankfully I have a good ear. I think I did my homework and it sounds all right.

'I’ve always loved Heroes, and I have a secret crush on Hayden'

Any amusing lost in translation moments?

The best ones are when I go through a Starbucks drive thru’. I tried ordering stuff with my polite English accent but they never understood me, so I’ve ended up putting on a Southern accent to make them understand. I keep asking for sachets of sugar, though, and they just don’t understand what a sachet is!

What’s it like working with the likes of Connie Britton and Hayden Panettierre?

I’ve always loved Heroes, and I have a secret crush on Hayden. Me and my buddies used to watch Heroes and we always used to talk about her. So to actually work with her is amazing. She’s a fiery little talent and she’s so much fun to be around. As for Connie, we haven’t actually worked together directly yet, but I’m hoping to work with her in the second series!

Your character Gunnar Scott has had quite a year – from a quiet good guy to showing his darker side…

Yeah, Gunnar is madly in love with his co-worker Scarlett (Clare Bowen) and they have this crazy deep connection. The first series was all about them trying to find a way to turn their friendship into something more. When Gunnar’s brother gets out of jail he become whipped up into this murder investigation, so that send Gunnar into a downward spiral, and he takes it all out on Scarlett. It’s been an s great story for me to play!

Sam admits he has always had a crush on Hayden Panettierre
Sam admits he has always had a crush on Hayden Panettierre

So what’s in store for series two?

I don’t know anything at all! We’re about to start filming, but at the moment I’m as interested to find out what’s going to happen! I have no idea if Scarlett said yes to Gunnar’s marriage proposal.

What do you hope for Gunnar?

If the series can be as amazingly up and down for Gunnar then I’ll be happy. He was on and off the rails a lot, and I really hope we get to play some more of the darker, edgier, rockier music like we did in the last part of series one. And I want to work with Hayden some more!

The complete first series of Nashville is available to buy on DVD from 15 July, priced £35.99. It returns to More4 next year

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