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.”