Nashville Set Scoop: Gunnar's Past, Zoey's Journey and Lots More!

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Nashville is one dramatic, crazy place, filled with love triangles, surprise parentage and superstars at the Opry.

No, to be clear, I’m talking less about the legendary city and more about Nashville Season 3 on ABC.

Moving into Nashville Season 3 Episode 6, there is a lot brewing... with Gunnar having just found out he’s a father; Luke and Deacon continuing to butt heads on the road; Zoey unexpectedly taking over for Juliette onstage; and even more drama once the Country Music Awards are announced on tonight’s episode.

Thankfully, I was on the set in Nashville during the filming of tonight’s episode and had the chance to get some scoop from Sam Palladio (Gunnar), Will Chase (Luke), Charles Esten (Deacon), Chaley Rose (Zoey), along with special guest star Sara Evans, who plays herself and gets to sing one of her hit songs with Chase.

Let’s see what they revealed about tonight’s episode...

Deacon and Will Have Words  - Nashville Season 3 Episode 6

Sam Palladio on Revisiting Gunnar’s Past: “Gunnar is in a seemingly a pretty solid state with his new house and with Zoey and the relationship seems to be good. Then, the lovely Alexa PenaVega comes into the show as Gunnar’s first girlfriend. That’s kind of great for me to play because I loved all the exploration of his childhood and his upbringing that we got a taste of in season one with his brother and sharing some of those darker times. 

He gets to sort of relive that a little through Alexa’s character. She knew the brother. She was a close friend. She was really in the circle and then she disappears from Texas and sort of broke Gunnar’s heart really so, a very important character in his development as a young guy. So, she comes back into the mix suddenly from nowhere and causes quite a stir… she was certainly his first love. We know that he has had deep feelings for her and is shaken when she turns up. Then he is sort of blown away at the news that she has this child with her.”

Sara Evans on Her Role in the Episode: “[Luke Wheeler] is in concert in Milwaukee and it’s the day that the CMA nominations come out and I announce those and he and I are good friends. So he flew me out to his concert to sing with them to sort of say thanks…and so we just filmed us performing [Evan’s hit single] ‘Put My Heart Down.’” (You can even download the duet on Itunes right now)

Chaley Rose on Zoey’s Journey in Season 3: Zoey is now a more complete person whereas last season I was kind of benevolent supporter of my friends, other than that time I made out with my best friend’s ex.”

Will Chase on working with Evans: “I get to be with this great country star who I can sing on her great single and I might even tease that we might even do it at the Opry. So it’s awesome to get to show up at work, and there’s Sara and you get to sing one of her hit songs.”

Palladio on the Daddy News Shaking Things Up: “Gunnar is completely thrown by everything. What you think is a pretty stable home, a new house and life that he’s setting up for himself, suddenly draws him back into his childhood, into his past, into the darkness of that and into some of the choices that he would’ve tried to make had she not disappeared. Of course Zoey is very taken aback. There’s a lot of stuff for Zoey to absorb, hard stuff to deal with.”

Luke Mending Fences with Deacon…or Not: Chase explained, Chip [Esten] and I talk about it a lot because that happens in real life, especially when you’re stuck on the road together and you’re artists and you realize that this is life and life is messy and I would love it if we had more common ground.”

Esten’s Take on Deacon/Luke: “[Luke] brings Deacon on tour not only, I don’t think, to stick it to him. There’s probably a certain amount of ‘keep an eye on it,’ and there also is a certain amount of [the fact that] he’s a great player, a musician, singer, songwriter, great opening act. So, [Luke] gets to look like the bigger man and bring him on tour and stick it to him a little bit, all of that, and nightly, Deacon now gets to watch the guy that got Rayna be adored by the world. So that takes its toll.”

Zoey’s Chance To Shine Onstage: “This is probably the most exciting thing I’ve done so far,” Rose told me of Nashville Season 3 Episode 5. “As we know, Juliette is pregnant, she has a moment where she is having difficulty breathing and leaves the stage and Zoey takes over for Juliette in Indianapolis I think, which I awesome for me because I’m from Indiana… Zoey gets this star moment and Juliette does not like it. At all.”

Esten on Deacon & Pam: “The great thing about Pam is she’s different than so many of the other lovely women that Deacon has met and spent time with and fallen for because, number one, she’s in the music business full on. Number two, she’s different. She’s a little bit of a wild child, and been a backup singer on the road for a while and doesn't take much nonsense and isn’t much for all this sad sack gloom and doom. She’s had her share like everybody. She’s had her share of pain and she just chose not to sit in it and dwell in it. And maybe that’s a lesson that she’s able to pass on to Deacon to some amount because it would be a healthy one.”

Team Zunnar? “Initially people were weird about it,” Rose said of the Gunnar/Zoey pairing that started in Nashville Season 2. “They were like, ‘I don’t know about this.’ But now over time, I hear people say, ‘We love you two together,’ which is fun.

Palladio on singing at the Opry: Like co-star Jonathan Jackson’s interview last week, I talked to Palladio just before he was going onstage at the Grand Ole Opry. “It’s such a privilege to play here,” he said. “The history is incredible. I get nervous before I perform anyway. It’s funny being an actor, you get to put on a shell, put on a character, once you live in that you feel very free to be bold or be mad or cry because you’re sort of shielding your own personality in a sense. You come here and the armor is down and your personality and your songs and your artistry is put in front of 4000 people here and in front of the world on digital radio across America. It gives you nerves, but great nerves.”

Evans on the show representing women in country music: “That’s what I love the most about the show is that the star is a female country singer, and then, of course, Hayden’s character is a female star, and I just think it’s awesome that it’s not just about men in bro country and all of that and there’s really, really, really cool music.

Nashville Season 3 airs Wednesdays at 10pm on ABC. Evans will release her holiday album, 'At Christmas' on November 17th. Preorder on iTunes. 

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

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Nashville Season 3 Episode 6 Quotes

Will: I know this has been tough, but it's out last day of shooting. You think we can get through it without any drama.
Layla: Doesn't drama make for good TV?

Look, I've stood behind enough people to know when someone's heart's not in it. I'll tell you what, they [the audience] knows it too. I would kill to be on the front of that stage, but just because I'm not doesn't mean I'm not gonna sing my ass off.