Nashville Exclusive: Callie Khouri Previews Midseason Finale, Beyond

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December is usually a month of cool temperatures, but things are heating up in a big way on Nashville.

After rivals Rayna (Connie Britton) and Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) created music magic last week, the big question is what happens next? And will the show’s many love triangles reach their respective boiling points?

Calling TV Fanatic from an on-location set in Nashville, creator (and Academy Award winner) Callie Khouri teased what's to come on tonight's midseason finale, which finds Juliette spending time with Sean’s picture perfect family, Scarlett perhaps losing some of her naiveté, and Deacon possibly moving on for good.

Nashville Cast Pic

TV Fanatic: First up, how important creatively is it to actually shoot in Nashville?

Callie Khouri: It’s super important. Nashville is such an incredible place and it’s own world and there’s no place like it that I’ve ever been. There’s such a feeling, a pulse and a beating heart and I think it’s really an important part of what we’re trying to do. I think all the cast would agree that there’s something about shooting here that’s makes it really authentic.

We’ve been so embraced by Nashville. They are very pleased with our presence here and I hear so often that they feel that this is the first time they’ve ever seen anything that feels real to them and that’s from the Mayor to the people in the music industry. I don’t think we could achieve that in another city.

TVF: Rayna now seems to get that there might be value in working with Juliette. What could Rayna possibly want from Juliette?

CK: I think Rayna wants something from Juliette in a back-handed way. Rayna has been in the business so much longer than Juliette that watching her make a lot of the mistakes that she has made and will continue to make… I think if Rayna wants anything from Juliette it is a certain amount of compassion.

TVF: But as much as the singers don’t want to be together, they seem to keep getting thrown together. Is that going to continue?

CK: They definitely will interact much, much more because obviously they created something together that was undeniable and they’re going to have to deal with that.

TVF: Deacon has always been outside of the spotlight and this week he gets a chance to maybe step into the spotlight. But is that what he truly wants?

CK: I think that he has made choices all his life that has kept him out of the spotlight so he obviously has mixed feelings about it. He could’ve pursued a solo career at some point but he, again, has his problems with addiction and he decided that a good place for him is with Rayna and until recently that all worked great.

TVF: What’s in the future for Rayna and Deacon? They also keep getting pushed together especially at a time when Rayna’s marriage is going through its challenges.

CK: Rayna and Deacon are star-crossed lovers. Rayna made a decision a long, long time ago to make a much different choice than Deacon and I’m not sure that she doesn’t spend a good part of each day regretting that on some level.

TVF: Sean is such a good guy and seems really good for Juliette but what can you tease about their relationship since this week she meets his family.

CK: The fact that his mother is not wholly approving of it makes it all the more attractive to Juliette. She sees in that family something that she's never had herself and it's very attractive to her. She will try to create something for herself that makes her life make more sense.

TVF: Hayden does a beautiful song in a church this week. Was it important to include religion in the show since it’s such a part of the South?

CK: We do everything we can deal with Nashville as authentically as possible and there's a church on every corner so, yes, it is important to us that we show that it's a strong presence in this town because it certainly is.

TVF: How long is Scarlett going to be able to stay naive and innocent?

CK: She's finding out things about herself that she did not know even existed so I think she's learning quickly and I think having a boyfriend like Avery keeps things really complicated because he is so driven.

TVF: How are things with Gunnar going to complicate things? There’s definitely quite a spark between them.

CK: They work together and that is going to keep things complicated on it's own so, yeah. They have an undeniable chemistry, too, so at some point how much does that take over?

TVF: You've had real life celebrities show up like Wyclef Jean and Kimberly Williams Paisley. Are there more people coming or those who want to be on Nashville?

CK: We've been really fortunate because I think we've tried to do this authentically and I know in the beginning a lot of people were really worried but people are loving the show and volunteering to be a part of it and that's what we were hoping for when we started.

TVF: Do you mind if people call the show soapy?

CK: I mean, it's not my first choice [laughs]. To me, it's a drama and I think we have soapy elements but I also think that we play things very real and we're really committed to doing that. We don’t want to do things that are melodramatic for the sake of it. That's important to us. Obviously we're on at 10 o'clock on ABC so there's certainly going to be some elements of soap for sure but I hope it’s more than that and I think between the music and everything else the show has going for it to define it solely as a soap is not fully accurate.

Nashville airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of Follow him on Twitter.

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