The “Crazy Idea” That Led to Taylor Swift’s Role in “The Giver”

Courtesy The Weinstein CompanyMost people who aren’t professional actors have to audition for roles in big Hollywood films, but Taylor Swift isn’t most people. The producer of Taylor’s new movie The Giver says her team approached Taylor directly and offered her a role after one of the executives got a “crazy idea.”

Taylor plays the small yet important role of Rosemary in the movie, which opens on Friday.  At the film’s New York City premiere Monday night, producer Nikki Silver told ABC News Radio, “Taylor Swift is a very interesting story; we had actually written the part of Rosemary as a piano player even before we ever thought of [her]. Then, one of the executives at the Weinstein Company was at a Taylor Swift concert and said, ‘I have this really crazy idea.’” 

“We met with her and she’s just…she’s fantastic,” Silver added.  “Her dedication to this role, the time she spent with [her co-star] Jeff Bridges, trying to hone her craft and really learn it — she’s just an incredibly thoughtful, intelligent young woman.”

So, does Silver think Taylor has what it takes to forge a real acting career?  “I think Taylor Swift has what it takes to do whatever she wants to do,” she told ABC News Radio. “And I think once she puts her mind to something, there’s nothing she can’t do.”

Another producer on the film is a guy who knows a thing or two about young singers who branch out by appearing on movies, TV and the stage: Scooter Braun.  He guides the careers of Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ariana Grande, just to name a few.  He says he’s all for Taylor continuing to expand her acting resume.

“I think anyone creative should have as many creative outlets as possible,” Braun told ABC News Radio at the premiere. “Taylor’s an incredibly talented, smart, beautiful woman and I think she has proven time and time again that she can do whatever she wants. I think she should keep doing it, but I think she should keep inspiring all the kids that she does.”

One kid who Taylor inspired is Emma Tremblay, the nine-year-old actress who plays Lily, the younger sister of The Giver’s main character, Jonas.  Pronouncing herself a “HUGE” Taylor Swift fan, Emma told ABC News Radio, “I’d like to see her in more movies!”

Taylor herself was at The Giver premiere in New York City as well — after all, she lives there now.  She sported a Monique Lhuillier gown and, as always, bright red lips.  Also on hand for the premiere were OneRepublic, who performed their song “Ordinary Human,” from The Giver’s soundtrack.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rascal Flatts’ Joe Don Rooney Says Wife Tiffany Is Ready to Deliver Baby Number Three

Image Courtesy CMARascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney and his wife, Tiffany, will welcome a baby girl next month, and Joe Don admits his wife is ready for their third child to arrive.

Joe Don tells ABC News Radio, “[Tiffany's] been pretty sick throughout the whole — with all the babies. She doesn’t do prego real well, but she’ s a trooper. She’s my hero. She’s in a really good place right now, and she’s just feeling kinda uncomfortable at this point.”

As for what they’ll call the new arrival, Joe Don says with a laugh, “We don’t have a name yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as possible.”

Joe Don and Tiffany’s son, Jagger, is now six-years-old, and their daughter, Raquel, just turned four last week. Rascal Flatts continues their Rewind tour Friday night in Phoenix.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Comstock/ThinkstockLuke Bryan entertained more than 60,000 fans at his Sunday night show at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts. That attendance number is a record for a single-day country concert at the venue.

Jerrod Niemann will launch his Get Your Buzz Back tour starting October 24 with special guest Chris Lane in Myrtle Beach, FL. Go to for a full list of dates.

Darius Rucker co-wrote his brand-new single, “Homegrown Honey,” with his pal Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum.

Chase Rice will launch his Ignite the Night tour September 5 in Denver. Go to for dates.

Trace Adkins, Alabama, Charlie Daniels and Jamey Johnson are among the stars honoring the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd at a one-night-only concert at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on November 12.

Thompson Square headlines FOX News’s Fox and Friends All-American Summer Concert Series live from New York City on August 29.

Blake Shelton gave the new coach at The Voice, Pharrell Williams, a tour of the show’s set in a video posted at The new season of The Voice premieres September 22 at NBC.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Stars Taking Ice Bucket Challenge to Bring Attention to ALS

Image Courtesy Curb RecordsLee Brice, Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Chase Rice and Dierks Bentley are just a few of the country stars who’ve doused themselves with a bucket of ice cold water in the past few days. They’re not just trying to beat the heat, though. The stunt is part of a large movement to bring attention to the disease ALS. Look for even more country stars to get in on the act as the trend sweeps the nation by searching the hashtag #icebucketchallenge.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Country Stars React to Robin Williams’ Death

Image Courtesy Monty Brinton/CBSCountry stars have been reacting to the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, who was found dead of an apparent suicide at his home in Tiburon, CA Monday at age 63. Brad Paisley recently guest starred on Williams’ CBS sitcom, The Crazy Ones. Brad tweeted, “Devastated right now. Loved you Robin.”



Here are more reactions on Robin Williams’ passing:

Reba – “My favorite memory of Robin Williams was from Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night. I was the em-cee at the benefit dinner/auction, trying to get everyone to take their seats so we could start the show but not having much success. Jim Carrey jumps up on his chair at the head table and says, “Hey!! Do you know who that is? That’s Reba McEntire! Now sit down and shut up!” Robin at the other end of the head table, stands on his chair and says the same thing but in a foreign language! The crowd loved it, laughed and found their seats. I was speechless and in awe of these very talented wonderful men.

I will miss Robin so much, as we all will. Thank God we have so many wonderful memories of him, his wit, talent, big heart and generosity.”

Sara Evans — “I’m SO sad to hear of Robin Williams’ death. Praying for his family.”

Brett Eldredge — “Wow, I love Robin Williams, god bless that fella, he will be missed, BIG time!”

The Band Perry — “‘Oh Captain, my Captain…’  Forever in our hearts. #RIPRobinWilliams #YoullBeMissed”

Florida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley — “Dayum, Robin Williams. Wow. #rip one of the good ones.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw Closes Out Sundown Heaven Town Tour; Daughter Audrey Wows with Backstage Performance

Image Courtesy Big MachineTim McGraw presented a record 100th mortgage-free home to a military veteran over the weekend in Texas as he closed out his Sundown Heaven Town tour. He has been giving the homes away to veterans for the past three years in partnership with Chase and Operation Homefront.

Before this weekend’s shows in Dallas and Houston, Tim and Faith Hill‘s youngest daughter, 12-year-old Audrey, performed The Dixie Chicks‘ “Travelin’ Soldier” for a small crowd backstage. One lucky fan caught the performance on Instagram.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Love and Theft Launching Night That You’ll Never Forget Tour October 16

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleLove and Theft are headed out on the Night That You’ll Never Forget tour starting October 16 in Portland, Maine. Country newcomer Joel Crouse is opening the show, and there also will be two DJ’s along for the trek.

The duo’s Stephen Barker Liles says, “Joel is an awesome dude, not to mention a killer artist.  Having DJ DU and DJ Rod Youree will add a great element to the shows, making this a tour we will never forget and we are excited to share the experience with our fans!”

Go to for up to date ticket information.

Here are Love and Theft’s tour dates:

10/16 — Portland, ME, Asylum
10/17 — Boston, MA, Royale
10/18 — Fairfield, CT, Fairfield University
10/24 — Baton Rouge, LA, Louisiana State University
10/30 — New York, NY, The Gramercy Theater
10/31 — Rochester, NY, Water Street Music Hall
11/1 — Lancaster, PA, Chameleon Club
11/2 — Clifton Park, NY, Upstate Concert Hall
11/6 — Davie, FL, The Round Up
11/7 — Sarasota, FL, White Buffalo Saloon
11/8 — Daytona Beach, FL, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
11/13 — Roostown, OH, The Dusty Armadillo
11/14 — Columbus, OH, The Bluestone
11/15 — Morgantown, WV, Schmitt’s Saloon
11/20 — Wilmington, NC, Ziggy’s by the Sea
11/21 — Charlotte, NC, Coyote Joe’s
11/22 — Kernersville, NC, Bucked Up Super Saloon
12/5 — Houston, TX, Firehouse Saloon
12/11 — Phoenix, AZ, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill
12/12 — Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill
12/13 — Folsom, CA, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill
12/17 — Bemidji, MN, Sanford Center
12/18 — Lincoln, NE, The Single Barrel
12/19 — Denver, CO, Grizzly Rose
12/20 — Ogden, UT, The Outlaw Saloon

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Reba Headed to Italy for Celebrity Fight Night, Headlining Sold-Out Johnny Cash Music Festival

Image Courtesy CMAReba is headed to Italy next month to take part in Celebrity Fight Night, which is being held out of the United States for the first time this year. The annual event benefits the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, and Reba will receive a special honor for her charity work during a gala dinner on September 7 in Florence. Reba is also bringing her pal Ronnie Dunn along to perform, as well as Lionel Richie.

In other Reba news, she’s headlining the sold-out Johnny Cash Music Festival this Friday night at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. Loretta Lynn and Bobby Bare are also on the bill.  Proceeds go to preserving Johnny Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, AR.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dierks Bentley Announces 20 Cities for Second Leg of 2014 Riser Tour

Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley has announced the 20 cities he’ll be hitting on the second leg of his 2014 Riser tour. The shows start October 2 in Stockton, California, with Randy Houser and Eric Paslay opening the U.S. shows. New Canadian artist Tim Hicks will join Dierks and Randy for the Canadian shows.

Dierks has had a blast on the road this summer with the Riser tour’s first leg. He says, “Every night I get more excited and don’t want this run to end.  I’m just living in the moment as much as I can and taking it all in…it really has been the best summer of my life.”

As for the second leg, Dierks adds, “I’m looking forward to having Randy, Eric and Tim out on the road for the next leg…all three of them are crazy talented.”

Go to for ticket information.

Here are Dierks’ new tour cities:

Stockton, CA
Fresno, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Boise, ID
Missoula, MT
Edmonton, AB (CAN)
Saskatoon, SK (CAN)
Calgary, AB (CAN)
Winnipeg, MT (CAN)
Fargo, ND
Bismark, ND
Brookings, SD
Hershey, PA
Uncasville, CT
Utica, NY
Huntington, WV
Roanoke, VA
Baltimore, MD
Ottawa, ON (CAN)
Hamilton, ON (CAN)
Oshawa, ON (CAN)
London, ON (CAN)

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Blake Shelton Singing with Barbra Streisand on Her New Duets Album, “Partners”

Image Courtesy CMABlake Shelton is sharing the mic with Barbra Streisand on her new duets album, Partners, due out September 16. Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and even Elvis Presley are among the other “partners” joining Barbra on the album.

Barbra made the announcement on Instagram along with the caption, “What an extraordinary collection of talent!”

This will be Streisand’s first new studio album since 2011′s What Matters Most.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio