Nashville's Hayden Panettiere on Whether 'Impulsive' Juliette Is Ready for the Wife Life

HAYDEN PANETTIERE, TILKY MONTGOMERY JONESHere comes the bride, freaked outta her mind?

That’s one way Juliette’s poolside proposal to Sean could play out when Nashville returns on Wednesday, Jan. 9 (ABC, 10/9c).

After all, the young country star didn’t spend much time mulling the pros and cons of a lifelong union with the chaste quarterback – but Hayden Panettiere says her character’s impetuous move wasn’t a shocker… at least, not compared to other scripts she’s been handed throughout her career.

“I feel like I’ve been on shows where anything can happen,” says the woman who used to play an indestructible cheerleader. “It’s not that I’m unsurprised, it’s just that I feel like I’m prepared for anything and I’m excited to go anywhere with it.”

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Read on for the Golden Globe-nominated Panettiere’s take on whether Ms. Barnes really is ready to become a Mrs. and who – if anyone – has the power to set the strong-willed diva straight in the weeks to come.

TVLINE | When we talked to Callie Khouri about the winter finale, she said that Juliette’s proposal was partly about wanting a family connection but also partly because Sean’s mom said, “No way.”
Oh, absolutely. [Juliette’s] not used to hearing “no.” “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is her motto, and that’s what’s gotten her to where she is today. It’s like that double-edged sword, where it’s great on one hand and it’s gotten her to where she is and the success she’s seen, but it’s also very self-destructive.

TVLINE | What was going through your mind when you read the script and you saw that she was going to propose?
When that happened, it was all in this kind of downfall of Juliette, one mistake after another and [a period of] self-sabotage. And she’s the kind of girl that just looks for love in all the wrong places, because she never had it. She never felt like she had it. But I thought it was interesting. I saw that and I went, “Hmm, I wonder how that’s going to end?”

TVLINE | In the promos for the first episode of the new year, we see Juliette wearing a wedding gown. Is she all in? Having any second thoughts?
She’s very impulsive, obviously. And sometimes, the need to win and the will to win overpowers her actual feelings. When [she feels] something that is genuine, she tends to sabotage that and ruin all chance at it. I don’t think that [wanting to marry Sean] is completely impulsive and has no genuine feeling behind it — I think the genuine feeling is what is the scariest to her.

CHARLES ESTEN, HAYDEN PANETTIERETVLINE | Along those lines, I love that Deacon has become someone who tells Juliette to get her head screwed on straight. It feels like something she hasn’t had before.
Oh, never had. He’s the first person who’s been able to really break down that wall, who she opens up to and trusts. And she respects his opinion because he doesn’t candy-coat stuff to her. He just says it all out, regardless of what… [her] reaction might be. He doesn’t care, and that’s something that Juliette respects and desperately needs.

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TVLINE | Will we see more of Deacon and Juliette interacting in that manner in the episodes coming up?
I think you might. I think there’s a connection there that Juliette is desperately in need of. And that’s where you really see that side of her – it’s when she’s with Deacon, and when she’s with her mom, that you really see that heart of hers and the turmoil that’s underneath.

TVLINE | Ever since the Juliette ran into Avery in the pilot, I’ve wanted to see them share more scenes. Can you share anything on that front?
We bump into each other at some point. I don’t know what is going to come of it, if anything. There’s a tiny bit of interaction, but we never know until we get the script. So I have no idea where that could potentially lead, if it’s gonna. I’m clueless. I’m waiting for it, just like you guys!