Country Crush is a musical that’s available starting March 14 (it’s a Walmart exclusive) and I’ll be posting a review this week on Hollywood Outbreak. I really enjoyed the performances and music featured in the project (if you love old-fashioned entertainment that’s filled with good songs, this may be your cup of tea).
Actress/singer Sophie Tweed-Simmons, who plays a sassy and uninhibited woman named Ainsley in the feature, talked about Country Crush and her own promising music career. Check out our interview after the jump!
Country Crush is a country musical that’s also a blend of comedy and drama. Did the mix of genres appeal to you?
I loved the family friendly aspect of it and I think a lot of entertainment is lacking that these days. I also loved the nod to our military. That was a big selling point for me.
Can you talk about your big musical number in the film? Was it a difficult process to do, or did it come naturally?
It was definitely different from anything I’ve ever done. I write music and I sing, but I’ve never combined acting and singing before so that was kind of a whole new experience and a whole other creative muscle to flex. Learning choreography was something I’ve never done before and that was the really difficult part for me. We only had one day to get the shot but they were super patient with helping me learn everything.
You have like 10 different camera angles and you have the entire day to shoot basically one song.
Where did this movie shoot?
It was actually shot in Ontario, Canada. It was a Canadian production.
How long were you in the production and how was the overall experience for you?
I was there, I think, for about two to three weeks. It was amazing. Being on set was kind of like summer camp for adults because you get to hang out with awesome people every day and we’re all from different parts of the world . It’s really a bonding experience when you work on a set and then when someone wraps and they go home it’s always super sad saying goodbye to people. Especially when (your part) wraps and the production is still going and you have to leave. It’s just heartbreaking.
Everyone seemed to have a great chemistry on the film.
We didn’t really get to meet each other until the day we started shooting. We all flew in at different times and it was shot north of Toronto in kind of a small town. We had to fly into Toronto and take a little plane up to where we were shooting. Once we all met, we knew it was going to be a fun production. We’re all the same age and we all sing and act.
We would jam on set when we had extra time and would hang out at each other’s trailers. It was just really fun and it’s nice that we can all continue to support each other after we’ve wrapped.
I do quite a few things but I think they all complement each other and work together. My main passions are writing music and acting and with both you get to create a character or feeling from scratch and execute it. That’s the part I really love.
The clothing design, the online magazine – all that stuff complements and feeds into the overall brand I started in reality TV (Gene Simmons: Family Jewels). And part of my whole thing is being an open book. As much as I can let people in, that’s the goal.
Is your early experience in reality television and learning from your parents part of what makes your strong work ethic?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I don’t think people realize that shooting a reality show isn’t fun. And it’s not easy. We started when I was 11 years old – we shot the pilot. And then we got picked up when I was 12 and shot until I was 19. That’s all of your childhood having to, instead of going to sleepovers at your friend’s house, (you) come home and shoot with your family. Not all of my friends wanted to be in reality TV so I wouldn’t get to hang out (with them) – which I completely get.
It really showed me that there is hard work that needs to be put in, but when I do the hard work then I have these resources and freedom to pursue what I want, which is the nice part.
So I was reading on your Twitter feed that you were on Midnight?
Actually, my brother was on Midnight and we all went to go and support him. It’s basically like a game show for super smart, quick and funny people. They put three people on a panel and they’ll give you a topic and the three people will have to buzz in with jokes and you get points if you’re witting or (the jokes) land. My brother did such a good job and it was so much fun. Chris Hardwick is the host – he’s incredibly quick and funny. We worshipped his show before we went to (the taping).
(Hardwick said) ‘You guys should all be on.’ That would just be the worst idea! If we were making jokes at each other’s expense – it would get out of hand (laughs). I think with family, you know each other too much and the jokes get personal. It’s not like joking with your friends – we know such deep levels of each other it would be a bloodbath (laughs).
I really loved your cover of “Kiss Me.” Can you tell us what you’re doing with your songwriting and music?
Yes. So I did my cover of “Kiss Me” and it got, I think, 10 million listens. People seemed to really like it. I’ve been songwriting for a long time and it might be time to actually let some people here this (laughs). I have hundreds of songs just laying around – I’ve been writing songs since I was a little kid.
My parents made us learn instruments from when we were like four until now. We’re still learning new instruments. We’re definitely a musical family but it’s kind of nice to finally gear up and share everything I’ve been working on. I’ll definitely have new music coming out this year.
Curious question, with all those songs that you’ve written, what was the delay? I’m sure a lot of people are curious and want to hear your music.
I don’t know. I think part of it was, after the show I wanted a few years of just being a normal. Finishing high school, going to college with no entertainment business and I actually went into computer science and I was really into that. I thought maybe I would move to San Francisco and go into tech.
But all through that time I was writing songs and I’m always singing every day. You can ask my brother. I torture him with singing every day in the house (laughs). It just oozes out of us.
I sang something for my mom’s birthday a couple of years back and I just love performing and being on stage and singing songs that I wrote. So for the past two years I’ve been seriously going after it. Going through all the songs and finding the ones we think have a cohesive vision. (We’ve been) fine-tuning them and coming out of rehearsals the last two weeks for a showcase. The live show is coming together, the music’s coming together. I’m learning more choreography and Country Crush definitely prepped me for that!
*****Here’s the audio version of the “music” section of this interview:
I read in an interview about your love for Paris. Can you talk about what you dig about the City of Lights?
I’m a dual citizen – Canadian and American. The second language in Canada is French and we learned it in school and you learn a little bit when you’re a kid. And then you really don’t think so much of it because whatever you learn from school you try to forget it immediately, I realized, after you leave (laughs).
I got the opportunity to go to Paris with my best friend, who is also my cousin, during my senior year of high school and I was like ‘Perfect, I speak a little French, let’s just go check it out and see what it’s about.’ As soon as we landed we were just awestruck by the beauty of the city and the people. And everyone there has this kind of deep, mysterious thing going on that we don’t really have in California.
Everyone here is a little more superficial and a little more shallow. It has to do with the cutthroat entertainment business – I get it. But in Paris there is so much history in the people. They really carry their country’s history with them. The buildings are hundreds of years old – it’s just steeped in history.
It’s really inspiring to see people have a very clear identity. Because America is built on immigrants we have so many different kinds of people and we’re a hodgepodge of different histories and different cultures and that’s beautiful too. But it’s interesting when you step into – it’s almost like another world when you go into these older European countries. And they are just so sure of who they are, and what they like, and how they sound and where they live. It’s just really inspiring, the self-confidence that they have.
Is there a film that you see time and time again? If so, what makes this movie special for you?
I’ve watched The Count of Monte Cristo like maybe 100 times, the one with Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce and a young Henry Cavill. It’s just the perfect film. I don’t really understand what it is, but every time I watch it, I root for the Count and I root for him to win. I think all the characters are very human. Even Guy Pearce, who’s the antagonist, you kind of understand where he’s coming from as well. I think because it’s based on such a classic book, the story was already there and they just built upon it.
Thank you so much for your time and continued success!!
Thank you so much. Bye!
— Sophie Tweed-Simmons (@SophieTSimmons) March 5, 2017