Gwyneth Paltrow may be perceived by most as a macrobiotic, health-savvy New Yorker, but it seems she stepped quite outside herself to play Kelly Cantor, a self-destructive, alcohol-addicted music superstar in her latest drama “Country Strong.”
But you might be surprised to learn of one of the inspirations behind the tragic Cantor – who returns from rehab early in an attempt to revive her career. Why, it’s Britney Spears y’all.
“You see a lot of these themes in real life, while I was writing the script a lot of those things that were happening with Britney Spears were very public,” writer/director Shana Feste revealed to FOX411’s Pop Tarts. “She was shaving her head, and I saw how fixated we are as a society in building people up to see their downfall and then the pleasure we take in building them up again.
“Right when I finished the script, Michael Jackson had just passed away so it felt like it was a very timely story just borrowing from what I had seen in the media,” Feste added.
“Yet, when it came to morphing herself into a super-famous singer, Paltrow turned to someone other than Spears as a source of inspiration, and she didn’t even seek out words of wisdom from rocker husband, Chris Martin.
“I picked the brains of my girl singer friends more. I obsessively watched Beyonce perform, she is ‘it’ in terms of a performer – if I could just get a little bit of that abandon she has on stage, that’s what I was really focusing on,” Paltrow explained.
And it was her super famous friend who helped her conquer the fear of her own voice.
“The only reason I go through (a live performance at the recent CMA’s) was because of her,” she added. “Beyonce was in London and got me through it, then I got to Nashville and Faith (Hill) was so much help. All these things she told me I would never have known.”
But given that Paltrow’s public persona is as far removed from Spears as one could imagine, as it turns out, the actress was initially dissed by the studio behind “Country Strong.” As she tells us, Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper initially balked when he found out Paltrow was attached to the project.
“He thought everyone was so crazy because I was so wrong,” she said. ‘When you think ‘country superstar drink addict’ maybe you don’t think of me, but it’s in there… I haven’t been macrobiotic for a long time now, drinking country singer is much closer to the real me!”
The 38-year-old was so eager to prove such a point, she even granted Feste’s request to “get rid of those yoga arms” and join the rest of the cast and crew by indulging in copious amounts oil-smothered foods while filming in Tennessee.
“I ate lots of fried food, fried chicken and there is this restaurant that makes a slider out of a biscuit with fried chicken – it is really, really good,” Paltrow reminisced.
And her longtime trainer and good pal Tracy Anderson’s response?
“She was like ‘don’t tell me! I don’t want to know!’ Unfortunately for me her method works so well that it took me until the end of the movie for everything to fall apart,” Paltrow added. “I still looked like myself for most of the movie, right at the end I looked at myself and went ‘what the f**k?’ but it was too late.”