Nashville’s Hayden Panettiere: Everyone loves an excuse to be a bitch!

The 23-year-old star of hit More4 drama Nashville says the best part about playing country music starlet Juliette Barnes is getting to be "bitchy" and "nasty"

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“Who doesn’t love having an excuse to be a you-know-what? A bitch…” asks Nashville star Hayden Panettiere.

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The 23-year-old American actress is talking to RadioTimes.com about what she loves most about playing her Nashville character: fiesty, ambitious and quick-tongued country music star Juliette Barnes.

In real life, the mild-mannered actress is all smiles, a million miles away from tantrum-throwing Juliette… So how does she get inside stubborn and troubled Juliette’s mindset?

“Well… if I’m supposed to be nasty, I just tell them to call me in at five o’clock in the morning and then it’ll be a piece of cake!” laughs the 23-year-old actress.

“I don’t know if I should be embarrassed about how easy it is for me to be bitchy and be nasty…” she continues. “Although it’s also easy to be… broken. I haven’t grown up in the same industry as her, as a country music star, and I don’t come from the same background, but I still grew up a young girl in an industry where I was in the spotlight. An industry which is very critical and very judgemental, where your entire life is public knowledge.”

Glossy and gripping US import Nashville (which you should really catch up on if it’s so far passed you by!) follows the lives and loves of the inhabitants of America’s musical city. Much of Panettiere’s screen time in the recently-recommissioned series involves Juliette being “bitchy and nasty”, spatting with fellow country star Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton). “I kept apologizing to her because the first scene I ever had to do with her was when I first meet her and I was extremely passive aggressive and incredibly rude… But as we got to know each other better and developed a relationship, it became fun to go after each other and to push each others buttons and be able to laugh about it afterwards.”

Juliette’s journey in series one, which is currently airing on More4, has been something of a turbulent one. And we don’t want to ruin it, but it gets a LOT more dramatic before the finale’s credits role. What’s it like playing a character who is on such a rollercoaster?

“I love it. I think it’s fun, it’s exhilarating,” says Panettiere. “When you sign on to something that could go on potentially for seven years and you’re playing one character for 10 months out of the year, it’s very easy to get bored. But I’m definitely never, never, never going to get bored of Juliette.”

Well, thank God for that…

Nashville is currently on More4 on Thursdays at 10:00pm

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The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack parts one and two are currently on sale