Post Mortems
Carla Gugino Nashville Rayna's mom

Nashville Tragedy: The Story Behind That Mother of a Cameo

The following story contains major spoilers about this week’s Nashville — proceed at your own peril

Thursday’s Nashville was just full of surprises.

The biggest shocker, of course, was the death of Connie Britton’s Rayna (you can read all about that here). And coming in a close-ish second? The stealth casting of Carla Gugino as Rayna’s late mother, Virginia, who appeared to her daughter via a hallucination just hours before she took her last breath.

As Britton reveals, she personally reached out to “dear friend” Gugino and asked her to play the pivotal part. “And she jumped right in, as good friends do,” Britton says. “It was so special and incredible of her to do that with me. As you know, Rayna’s mom was the hero of her life.”

The moving sequence was actually the “last scene” of the episode to shoot, Britton shares. “To have that be the last scene was pretty powerful.”

Executive producer Marshall Herskovitz tells TVLine that he was in the process of “casting someone to play the mother” when Britton pitched him Gugino. “It never occurred to us in a million years,” he marvels. “It was just a great idea, and Carla said yes and she flew in the next day. They put that whole thing together at the last minute. And she was fantastic. So bless Connie for thinking of it.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Ian says:

    That’s cute.

  2. June says:

    I am a huge fan of Nashville. Not so much now😞

  3. Jackie says:

    My last Nashville

  4. tjchurch2001 says:

    I have a habit of reading guest star lists. Saw her name, knew her mainly as a movie actress, & couldn’t recall her being on the show before. Racked my brain to recall if she’d played a musician (especially country) before she might be doing again.

    • jbj says:

      It was a Spin City reunion! Before they were both well known, Connie and Carla played Michael J. Fox’s long-term love interests early in the series. Originally, Carla played Mike’s girlfriend, while Connie played his co-worker. After Carla left the show, Connie’s character got closer to Mike.

      • tjchurch2001 says:

        Article says they were friends, but no need to know how or why (or to know that’s it).

        Just today, they played on cable Mike’s last & Charlie’s first… Reminds me of when Charlie’s character dated someone working for Mayor’s competitor… Worker was played by Charlie’s now-ex… Who went on to date ex of his then-co-worker (who had also worked with Mike & been in relationship with him when he wrote himself off the show.)

  5. N says:

    Don’t see how people call themselves fans of a show then quit cause someone dies.

    • flutiefan says:

      agreed. it’s petulant.

    • Sandy says:

      Exactly….yes, she was a main character, but they had to exit her, as I read she wanted to leave the show. It’s going to be different, but won’t keep me from wTching the show.

    • Eran says:

      This! Couldn’t agree more.

    • J says:

      Nonsense! I love(d) the show, but don’t have the heart for it now Rayna’s dead. It’s not petulant, it’s just ridiculous to kill off your main character and expect it not to have an impact. Rayna was my favorite character, and Rayna and Deacon’s relationship the most interesting on the show. Both those things are gone, I don’t want to see her husband and kids grieving. Nor do I want to tune into the Maddie show.
      It’s especially disappointing as the interview with Connie in the Hollywood Reporter says she wanted to do a reduced role/carry on in the 2nd half of the season, but the showrunners wanted to kill her off. That’s seriously shtty if true.

    • Desiree says:

      Agreed. I’m sure I’m going to catch a bunch of heat for this, but Rayna was never my favorite character anyway. I liked certain relationships and storylines with her, but there were also times I would just wanna shake her. The stuff with Maddie pretty much doing whatever the hell she wanted with virtually no repercussions was just maddening. Maddie would do or say something awful, and Rayna would just act all exasperated but not actually do anything to truly correct the behavior.
      I also don’t really care for the way she would throw her past with Deacon in his face every time they have a major disagreement about something. The most recent time was with the concept album, but its happened several other times as well.
      That being said, I didn’t HATE her character, and I was sobbing like a baby last night watching the episode. The Stella girls and Chip Esten ripped my heart out. Even typing this right now I’m getting choked up.
      Connie Britton has stated that this was her decision. To get angry at a show because they killed off a character after the actor portraying that character decides to leave makes very little sense to me. I could understand if you thought the material was poorly written or executed, but I don’t see how people could think that. It was really powerful. And to the people talking about all of the loose ends? Guess what? In real life you don’t get to tie up everything into a neat little bow. I will definitely be tuning in next week, because Nashville was never about just one character. It’s an ensemble show and I still enjoy many of the other characters.

  6. Sharon Howard says:

    Do Not kill off Rayna. Won’t be able to watch it again if you do.

  7. Cate says:

    Carla Gugino. Connie Britton and Lauren Graham were/ are all friends and if you listen to the Nerdist podcast, Chris Hardwick chatted about them all when he had Connie on. Three cool ladies!