Country Strong Star Finds Inspiration in Underwood, Swift

Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester

Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester found inspiration in country stars Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift in preparation for her role in the upcoming movie Country Strong.

“I tried to make it my own, but I was definitely inspired by Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift,” Meester explains. “I went to the Grand Ole Opry and saw Carrie Underwood. Went to few honky tonks, too.”

In the movie, Meester plays a young country singer who admires, and then rivals, an established country star (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Meester’s homework paid off. “I went into the studio and sang my heart out.” The actress notes that Paltrow raised the bar as well. “She really showed her chops, playing the guitar and performing the hell out of it,” said Meester. “My character is supposed to admire and look up to her, and I do, too. You have to rise to the occasion when you play opposite her.”

Country Strong, which also stars Tim McGraw, will be released in theaters in December.

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