Country stars had New Yorkers in their clutches this week, and the city folk are still swooning.
Fans of all types turned up to the myriad events in town, kicked off by the premiere of “Walk the Line,” the new film about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.
The juiciest tidbits about the life and love of the Cashes came from the unlikeliest source: British actress Jane Seymour.
She walked the line at the black-carpet premiere (yes, it was black, not red, in honor of the "Man in Black") with her husband James Keach — a producer of the film, who has small part as the Folsom Prison warden (he also happens to be the brother of actor Stacy Keach).
I asked Jane what it feels like to be a nice English girl soaked in all this Southern comfort. Seymour spit out her best down-home twang: “I’ve spent lots of time in the South, and I’m a Southern girl now,” she said. “June indoctrinated me.”
Turns out Keach and Seymour were very close with Johnny and June. The Cashes first approached Keach about making a movie about their life together nearly a decade ago. They also guest-starred three times on Seymour’s former series, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” — many episodes of which were directed by Keach.
“June and I became best buds,” Seymour told me. “I have a lot of her clothes in my closet, and we used to giggle a lot, and actually weep when we were giggling.”
And yes, she even wears June’s clothes. The two were the same size; Jane recently sported an outfit of June’s at an event for the American Film Institute.
They shared many secrets, she said, that they wouldn’t tell their husbands — and vice-versa.
What’s more, Jane and James’ son John is the godson of Johnny Cash. Little Johnny Keach is 11-years-old, and according to his mom, dresses all in black (“Except for the occasional football jersey,” adds dad James).
In other Cash-related news, if you’ve been reading press about the film, you know that there’s been controversy about how Johnny’s first wife, Vivian, has been portrayed.
Basically, her children (she had four daughters with Johnny, including singer Roseanne Cash) feel producers have not walked the line, but crossed it — by portraying their mom as a shrew.
I asked John Carter Cash — the only child Johnny and June had together and another of the film’s producers — what he thought of his step-sisters’ complaints.
“This movie is 100 percent about my parents’ love affair,” he stressed, before adding, “Look, my dad was a live wire in the 1960s, and nobody could save him but my mom.”
Ginnifer Goodwin, the actress who plays Vivian, took it a step further by admitting that fleshing out her role was not part of this film’s agenda
“Unfortunately for me, and unfortunately for [Johnny’s daughters], that’s not this film. To keep our audience interested, we took creative liberties, and I’m sorry for anything they might be feeling.”
(One unrelated tidbit for entertainment junkies out there: Goodwin is the girlfriend of former “That 70s Show” star Topher Grace. The two appeared in the film “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton.” OK, let’s move on…)
And you should know by now that the film’s stars, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, do their own singing, which is pretty impressive. Witherspoon fessed up that she was not too
pleased with taking on the task.
“About two weeks after I signed on the film, the director said, ‘I really want you to sing in the movie, or at least try,’” she told me. “I wanted to say no, and I tried to get out of it a bunch, but I ultimately ended up doing it, and it was for the best.”
“Joaquin and I were nervous — and we had horrible days — but when it all comes together and you don’t forget your part and he doesn’t forget his part, it’s a magical thing.”
I Hope She Danced
It was a magical week for Lee Ann Womack, who walked off with three of the six CMA awards for which she was nominated.
Womack came into FOX News for an interview just prior to the show, and filled me in on a few pre-show jitters.
Among them, the wardrobe. Just days before, it hadn’t arrived.
“I ordered some options from out of the country,” Womack said, without naming her designer, “and my daughter — who has way too good taste for a teenager — threw in a pair of shoes at the last minute that she wanted, these Alexander McQueen shoes. They’re leopard print shoes, so they got held up in customs, ‘cause they were concerned about what the shoes were actually made of. So I don’t know what I’m gonna get to wear.”
But by the day before the show, the shipment finally arrived. Womack wore midnight blue on the carpet and a bright green gown on stage.
Her daughter — 14-year-old Aubrie — has been touring with mom as a back-up singer, and performed with her at the awards.
“She’s so funny. She’s my best friend,” Lee Ann said. “We sleep together, we are together 24/7. We run around together and have a good time.”
Lee Ann’s other child is 6-year-old Anna Lise, who is a wee bit young to make it up to the Big Apple.
“I miss her,” Lee Ann said, “I told her as soon as I get home, I’ll take her on a cruise, just the two of us.”