Nashville's grand ole fraud: The Texan who's from Cornwall
Sam Palladio is the latest in a string of actors to fool the US
Susie Mesure writes interviews, news and features for the Independent on Sunday, Independent and i, and has done for the last ten years or so give or take two lengthy maternity leaves. She is interested in just about any topic, especially anything Scandinavian, food, or consumer-orientated, and used to be the Independent’s Retail Correspondent
Sunday 05 May 2013
First came Hugh Laurie in House, swiftly followed by Dominic West and Idris Elba in The Wire, and Homeland's Damian Lewis. Now joining them is Sam Palladio, the singer-songwriter in the hit country music series Nashville: the latest Briton to fool America.
Millions of Nashville's fans know him as Gunnar, the Texan-twanged scene-stealer with his will-he-won't-he relationship with fellow songwriter Scarlett. What they don't realise is that not only is Palladio from Penzance in Cornwall, but that, before landing his breakout role, the 26-year-old actor had not even been to the States.
Americans "get freaked out" when they hear his British accent, Palladio said. "The eyebrows raise, the jaw drops. It's very funny."
Other Brits poised to dupe America include Jersey-born Henry Cavill, who will be Superman in this summer's Man of Steel, and Carey Mulligan, who plays Daisy Buchnan in F Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which is out this month. Mulligan has, to be fair, already foxed the States with her pitch-perfect accents in Drive and the Wall Street sequel.
The trend, which saw Daniel Day-Lewis scoop his third Oscar earlier this year for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, is only set to accelerate. Department of Homeland Security figures show the number of visa petitions approved for actors and directors from the UK seeking work in the US entertainment industry soared 500 per cent in the past year. "There's a real surge of British talent. Our training is very different. Americans admire and idolise that," Palladio, who graduated from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in Kent, said.
"There's a lot of fast-tracking in the US, with Americans who start super young and might look absolutely gorgeous and be good for a couple of roles but don't necessarily have longevity."
Palladio can partly thank his own singer-songwriting roots for his role on Nashville, which is being broadcast in the UK by More 4. While living in London, he played in his own indie folk band Salt Water Thief. Palladio-as-Gunnar sings the opening song, "Fade into You", on the second instalment of the show's soundtrack, which is released on Tuesday.
In the wake of Nashville's success, Palladio is also making a name for himself as a singer-songwriter in the US. Last Friday night, he took to the legendary stage of the Grand Ole Opry, in the capital of Tennessee, to sing two of his own songs.
Although one of Nashville's plot lines sees Gunnar's fellow musician Avery Barkley sell out his band members for the chance to make it big alone, Palladio's former Salt Water Thief guitarist Bobby Harris said he didn't hold any hard feelings against Palladio for doing the same thing.
"It's just a great opportunity," Harris said. Palladio, however, admitted he felt bad. "We were getting some momentum and about to do some opening acts, when I got the job on Nashville."
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