License picture” alt=”Trace Adkins plays in "Monarch." File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License picture“/>
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 11 (UPI) — Susan Sarandon said Trace Adkins taught her about the world of country music. The two co-stars in Monarchpremiering Sunday on Fox.
“I love country-western music storytelling,” Sarandon said during a recent Television Critics Association panel. “I never got to know him in depth or anything. I smoked a joint with Willie Nelson. That was about the deepest I’ve had.”
Adkins and Sarandon play Albie and Dottie Roman, two country stars whose kids are also in the music business. Adkins, 60, is a recording artist himself and the show features guest appearances such as Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker, Martina McBride and Little Big Town.
“That’s the whole thing about being an actor, that you can get into these little bubbles that you know nothing about and find out a lot deeper,” Sarandon, 75, said. “I was so excited and looking forward to meeting Trace and being able to wear that hair, that jewelry, and experience a life on the road.”
Adkins, who has starred in films like Lincoln’s Lawyer, Deepwater Horizon and 13 Minutessaid he was surprised to find himself leading a network drama.
“It was around this time last year that I walked into Atlanta and was about to step on a TV,” Adkins said. “I had no idea what I was doing or what I was about to do. So here we are a year later, and I’m just hanging on to my fingernails.”
Albie and Dottie always eclipse their daughter, Nicolette (Anna Friel). However, their other daughter, Gigi (Beth Ditto), is highly sought after.
While country music was new to Sarandon, the Oscar-winning actor said Roman family drama was more relevant.
“I know the family,” Sarandon said. “So it was easy.”
Friel, 46, said Adkins also helped introduce her to the world of country music. The British actor sang in the 2006 comedy, Irish jambut Monarch was his first experience with country music.
“Trace was on set most of the time, but also on a tour bus performing,” Friel said. “I couldn’t believe most of them arrived on a tour bus, got on set, performed, then came back on a tour bus to go to the next show.”
Adding the musical performances to her acting work enhanced the role, Friel said.
“Country music is a powerful, moving, and expressive form of communication,” Friel said. “It was just about telling a story. That and having a lot of fun and continually keeping the audience guessing where it’s going to go.”
At the series premiere, the press finds out about Dottie’s cancer diagnosis. Sarandon said that even if Dottie died of cancer, she would still come across as the voice in her family’s head.
“I’m Jiminy Cricket,” Sarandon said. “I’m going to appear on everyone’s shoulder. I’ll be there as long as they have me.”
For his part, Adkins considers himself a television novice.
“I have already accomplished more than I could ever allow myself to dream of,” he said.
Monarch moves to its regular timeslot Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT/PDT starting September 20.