‘Nashville’ Star Talks Shocking Exit: “I Was Praying for This Sort of a Demise”

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Nashville’ Boss on Unexpected Death: We Wanted to Send Him Out in Grand Fashion.

Oliver Hudson knew that the death of his Nashville character, hated music manager Jeff Fordham, would elicit a strong reaction online, but the response to Jeff’s shocking fall off the side of a building still exceeded his expectations. “I think it came as a great shock,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I think ABC and Nashville and [creator] Callie [Khouri] and [showrunner] Dee [Johnson] did a great job of disguising what was going to happen.” After promos teased a “fatal” episode that saw Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) standing on the roof of a building contemplating suicide, Jeff went up to save her from herself, and ended up falling to his own death instead.Nashville fans are singing the blues after love-to-hate-him villain Jeff Fordham (Oliver Hudson) met a tragic — and jaw-dropping — demise on Wednesday’s episode of the ABC drama.

An already dark beginning of Nashville’s fourth season got even darker last night with the tragic death of Oliver Hudson’s scheming Jeff Fordham as he tried to save Juliette from jumping off a ledge. Following his stunning and sudden exit from the country music drama after more than two seasons, Hudson spoke with THR about why he wanted his character to die, what made Jeff’s death so “impactful,” and his decision to join the cast of Scream Queens. And Rayna’s on-screen daughters agree they also feel bad for Lennon’s character Maddie, whose relationship with boyfriend Colt is deteriorating. “I don’t even ship them anymore,” Maisy says. “I did but I don’t anymore because he’s an alcoholic.” Check out all the girls’ thoughts on “Please Help Me, I’m Fallin’ ” here, complete with a song the sisters wrote about the show before joining the cast: Six episodes in, Juliette’s life is spiraling out of control following the birth of her baby, Avery is mourning the end of his marriage, and Will is falling apart following his coming out. In an interview with Deadline, Nashville executive producer/showrunner Dee Johnson indicates that the tragic streak on the show might be coming to an end.

However, it was his rollercoaster of a romance with Layla (Aubrey Peeples) that showed Jeff’s softer side for the last season and gave his character some closure, as the two decided to move in together. She talks about the decision to kill off Jeff after letting the show’s top villain redeem himself this season and about the repercussions of his death. (Hudson started on Nashville as a recurring and was promoted to a regular before returning to recurring status this season as he signed on for Fox’s Scream Queens.) Johnson also addresses the challenges of filming the series without one of its stars, Hayden Panettiere, who took a leave to get treatment for postpartum depression, and the similarities between the actress’ struggles and those of her Nashville character. This is hardly Nashville’s first death (see: Juliette’s mom, Gunnar’s brother, Teddy’s second wife, Rayna’s dad, Deacon’s sister) but it was one of the show’s most unexpected. Why did you decide to kill him and make it such a final goodbye as opposed to an exit like Teddy’s where there’s the opportunity for him to return occasionally? We wanted him to seemingly have it all, to have grown enough as a human being to care about a desperately lost Juliette, even though he was no longer her manager.

We incorporated Hayden’s pregnancy into the storyline last season, but we knew Juliette would have issues with motherhood and had always planned for her to struggle with her demons afterwards, including postpartum depression. Layla’s been through so much, she’ll either collapse under the weight of it, or be made stronger — and more single-minded — about what she wants out of life. And then when you see him go over the edge — of course, I’ve known it’s been over for a while — but it brings closure enough for yourself as the actor. Honestly, if I wasn’t dying, if I was still on Nashville, I was looking forward to building on the character, having a real relationship, having feelings, not being the cold-blooded snake all the time.

When an opportunity comes that is a great opportunity, whether it be in your line of work or in life or relationships or friendships or whatever it is, I think you’d be foolish not to take a step through that door to try to experience that opportunity and that’s what came to me with Scream Queens. If Nashville would have come to me and said, “Wait a minute, hold on, let’s talk about this,” then there might have been a discussion, but the fact is that with Nashville, we didn’t even know if we were getting picked up or not so there was no discussion to even be made with me.

If you want to hold off, I’m down to come back to the show,” but I think once the politics of the TV industry get involved, I don’t think that would be a possibility. I immediately asked Will Chase, who is a good friend of mine, I said, “Well, what’s up for the next episode?” Apparently, my sister comes into town, and they named her Kate. (Laughs.) [The actor’s real-life sister is Kate Hudson.] I don’t know if that stuck or not, but that’s what I heard.

So part of that transferred over, but it’s obviously very different having a daughter, being a very protective father and not necessarily being the sharpest tool in the shed. What’s great about Ryan and the creators and all the directors who come through, you usually do one or two takes as if you are the killer, so you get to explore that dark side, which is a lot of fun.

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