Callie Khouri talks about her recent 2016 Patsy Montana Award, empowering women, and the upcoming season of Nashville.
Cowboys and Indians: Congratulations. How does it feel to be the [Cowgirl Hall of Fame] 2016 Patsy Montana Award recipient?
Callie Khouri: Well, it’s really fun and very much an honor and I hope that they feel as good about it as I do, because the event itself was spectacular, and it’s just a beautiful museum, and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.
C&I: It’s a wonderful event. The award honors women of the American West who have displayed extraordinary courage in their trailblazing efforts. We see this a lot in your movies like Thelma and Louise and your current show, Nashville. Did you think that when you started in the business that you would get this kind of recognition for your honest portrayal of your characters?
Khouri: You know, honestly, you can never, ever know what this business holds for you. It’s a very fickle and unpredictable business. So all I can say is it certainly turned out better than I could have hoped for.
C&I: Do you have a favorite show or movie that you’ve worked on?
Khouri: I think Thelma and Louise is always going to be my favorite, but whatever you’re working on at the moment tends to be your favorite thing. Right now that’s Nashville. At each stage you’re so focused on it that you have to be a little bit in love with it to do that kind of work.
C&I: It really shows in your work. Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Khouri: There’s so many great women whose stories haven’t been told, and I tend to do it in the fictional realm, and I just cut through to the women that I know and have known and want to be.
C&I: Do you have any female role models in real life or in film and television that you gain inspiration from?
Khouri: Well, Nora Ephron was certainly a role model and Gloria Steinem was a trailblazer for me. There’s a lot of women I’ve been inspired by. Now, I feel like it’s Jane Campion, the Australian director. There’s so many women that are working so hard, and I think the ones that manage to break through in this business that is so male-dominated, I have tremendous respect for.
C&I: We’re really excited that Nashville is moving to CMT, by the way. Does that change the effect of the show though? Are you able to write story lines now that you couldn’t previously do on ABC or vice-versa?
Khouri: Well, I think it changes the soapiness of the show a bit. I think it will be just a bit less soapy and more kind of drama-like, more dramatic.
C&I: That will be fun to see. We know that two characters are leaving the show, Layla Grant and Luke Wheeler. Will we meet any new characters come premiere time?
Khouri: Yes. I’m trying to think if there are any new characters in the premiere, but there are definitely new characters popping up this season.
C&I: We’re excited to see. What are you most excited about this upcoming season of Nashville? Any big surprises in store or anything?
Khouri: Well, there’s a lot of big surprises. I think it’s just been really fun working with CMT and getting to kind of refocus the show in a more musical direction. I’ve really enjoyed working with Marshall and I just think it’s going to be a satisfying season for people.
Nashville’s fifth season kicks off with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, January 5, at 9/8c on their new channel CMT.