Tag Archives: Tim McGraw

Two Years Later, ‘Blind Side’ Actors, Personalities Close

Sandra Bullock, Leigh Ann Tuohy

Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side” was unveiled two years ago  now — but the impact of the beloved film that won Bullock her Best Actress Academy Award lingers on.

For one thing, the friendship between Bullock her real-life counterpart is thriving.  Leigh Ann Tuohy tells us she’s hoping to get together with the actress again over the holidays.  “We have a couple of potential dates, maybe a Ravens game.  She is a Michael Oher fan,” notes Tuohy, referring to the Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle who is her adopted son — whose story was depicted in the film.  “We watch the football games and talk on the phone about what did or didn’t happen.  She is a member of this family, a great lady.” 

Tuohy and her husband, Sean, are also friends with “Blind Side” leading man Tim McGraw and wife Faith Hill.  “It’s easier to see them, because they live just down the road in Nashville.  We sat with Tim and Faith at a Titans game a couple of weeks ago,” she reports.

The Tuohys have also worked to parlay public attention from the movie into help for more of “the Michael Ohers out there” — with their Making it Happen Foundation for underprivileged kids, and with scores of public speaking engagements she makes before corporate, school and community groups.       

“I really feel like the person who has the cure for cancer or Parkinsons probably lives in an inner city somewhere, and just needs a chance, an opportunity,” says Leigh Ann.  She would love to help the 400,000 children in foster care in this country “find forever families.”  However, she adds, “You don’t have to adopt to make a difference.  It’s not hard to unearth people who need help.  Last week, I met a seven-year-old boy who’d never seen a cupcake before in his life.  I’ve shown lots of kids the ocean for the first time and it  always takes my breath away.”

Leigh Ann, formerly a member of the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” design team, has several prospects on the table that would put her in a position of greater prominence in 2012.  Among them:  a stint on “Dancing With the Stars.”  There’s also a possible Leigh Ann Tuohy talk show.   “The more we’re in the public eye, the more good we can do,” declares the Tennessee live wire.  “If I have to go out and do a little song and dance and make a fool of myself, I will.”

CMT President: Obama Plea a Morale Boost for Team Setting Up ‘Music Builds’ Disaster Relief Concert

Hank Williams, Jr.

Barack Obama

CMT has been keeping under wraps President Barack Obama’s appearance on tonight’s (5/12) “Music Builds: CMT Disaster Relief Concert” special to aid tornado and flood victims.  But the country music network’s president Brian Philips tells us, “The President was gracious and eloquent and impassioned in his plea for help for this region.  He immediately recognized he needed to be on this show.  That gave us a morale boost.”

The special, from Nashville, is so jam-packed with stars that by Tuesday, Philips says, the executive producer was texting him to say “‘Please don’t promise anybody else they can be on the show.  We are over-booked.”

That outpouring of concern and support is a far cry from last month, when tornadoes killed some 300 people in six states including hardest-hit Alabama, where entire towns were leveled.  “People throughout this vast swath of America were witnessing devastation beyond their imaginations, yet they weren’t getting help.  They were watching news channels and unbelievably not seeing what they expected to see about their home towns. They weren’t sensing that they were the topic of news coverage.  Unfortunately, for the most part, they weren’t,” Philips recounts.

Emails poured in to CMT asking for help, with “viewers coming to the logical conclusion, ‘Let’s get someone at CMT to get the cameras on this.’  It’s a first and it is a fact,” he says.  “It was an eye-opener.”

Brian Philips

Philips says that there has been a lot of conversation amongst those involved in “Music Builds” about these unique circumstances, about “how it felt seeing the royal wedding being played for the fifth time, knowing the extent of the damage and the lost lives just to the south of us.  Nature pays no attention to the news cycle,” he adds.  “Nature doesn’t care that there’s a royal wedding, or that the U.S. has mounted a spectacular surgical strike and taken out Bin Laden.”

Hank Williams, Jr., was among the many who tuned in to the news, “took a look at the very minimal TV coverage coming in from Alabama, and was dumbstruck,” says Philips.  The singer “got really fired up about this, and has been one of the busiest people, getting it going.  He’s an amazing character, a great addition to anything CMT does, he brings such color and enthusiasm and credibility, as well as brilliant music.”

Country music elite the likes of Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Alabama and Ronnie Dunn have been quick to commit to the special.  “It’s just a reflexive reaction with our stars to help at times like this.  It’s the easiest call you’ll ever make,” says Philips.  “They’ve all had to change around their schedules.  It’s the start of tour season, busy for everyone.”

Show forces are getting help from Hollywood and New York as well, he says.  “I think you’ll be very surprised at the level of people who gave us special footage for this affair.”

He acknowledges, “Certainly CMT can’t take full credit for it.  We’re part of the MTV Networks Music Group — that’s done the Katrina benefits, Hope for Haiti.  And we did the Jimmy Buffet Gulf Shores concert.  People often look to us to bring artists together and stage these sort of events in a timely manner.”  Crews have been shooting B-roll packages this week in tornado and flood-ravaged areas.

With The CMT Music Awards coming up June 8, Philips says there is some overlap with production and crew people “who are doing both things.   They’ll have to be taken out in straight jackets before this is over.  They’re getting no sleep,” he says.  Still, “There’s nothing like the energy of things like this when they’re produced in the heat of the moment.  You’re running on adrenaline, and it’s magic when people say, ‘Guess who’s coming?’  ‘Guess who’s given us a great piece?’ and you realize you can make a difference and use the channel for good.”

Proceeds from the event are going to the American Red Cross.

Top 10 Country-to-Hollywood Crossover Stars

Tim McGraw in "The Blind Side"

The history of country stars plying the acting craft is a mixed one. Memorable low point: when a critic deemed Glen Campell in ‘True Grit’ the ideal cowboy to chase a wooden Indian. Memorable high point…Well, here are our Top Ten Country-to-Hollywood Crossover Stars.

Tim McGraw. Hailed by critics for his solid performance supporting Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock in ‘The Blind Side,’ he now has ‘Love Don’t Let Me Down’ with Gwyneth Paltrow and Leighton Meester in the can. With past credits including ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Flicka,’ ‘The Kingdom’ and ‘Four Christmases,’ he’s got a great career going not counting his music. But, by the way, where’s his wife’s acting career these days? Since getting stung with some nasty reviews in 2004’s ‘Stepford Wives,’ Faith Hill’s been sticking to singing.

Reba McEntire. The energetic red-haired songstress proved her TV mettle with the 2001-2007 ‘Reba’ sitcom, sure, but before that she conquered Broadway with ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and the big screen in the cult fave ‘Tremors,’ among other acting credits.

Dolly Parton. Icon. Legend. Superstar. One of America’s great songwriters. Yes, and she’s been a bona fide movie star — ‘9 to 5,’ ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,’ ‘Steel Magnolias,’ etc. Nowadays, she’s known to Miley Cyrus’ fans as Aunt Dolly on ‘Hannah Montana.’

Billy Ray Cyrus. We can’t get too far away from ‘Hannah Montana’ without mentioning Miley’s achy breaky daddy. In addition to his own ‘Doc’ series, he’s racked up quite a few TV guest roles, telepics and movies, including the big screen ‘Mulholland Drive.’ Extra credit: ‘Dancing With the Stars.’

Dwight Yoakam. But let’s talk about real acting. ‘Sling Blade,’ anyone? Yoakam’s searing portrayal of an abusive alcoholic left moviegoers stunned. And it wasn’t a fluke. He really does have those chops, as he’s proven again and again, in films from ‘Panic Room’ to ‘Crank.’ He has ‘Provinces of Night’ hitting the festival circuit with Val Kilmer, Hillary Duff and Kris Kristofferson.

Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson’s ’70s-’80s reign as a movie star included a string of memorable films — ‘Blume in Love,’ ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,’ ‘Vigilante Force,’ ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ and ‘A Star is Born.’ Even in the high-profile failure ‘Heaven’s Gate,’ Kristofferson’s performance was singled out as good.

Willie Nelson. Okay, he’s always Willie Nelson, no matter what his character’s name is. But that hasn’t kept crowds from loving the unrepentant old pot-smoking outlaw in such fare as ‘The Electric Horseman,’ ‘Honeysuckle Rose,’ ‘Barbarosa,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘The Colbert Report’ or any of his other movie or TV acting gigs.

LeAnn Rimes. In addition to her Lifetime movie ‘Northern Lights’ providing her with a new real-life leading man, Eddie Cibrian, the made-for-television film showed she’s a credible thespian. She also starred along with Luke Perry in the comedy ‘Good Intentions’ and says it’s her intention to do more acting.

Randy Travis. A recurring role on ‘Touched by An Angel’ and dozens of parts on TV and in films (‘Young Guns,’ ‘Frank & Jesse,’ ‘The Shooter,’ ‘The Visitation’) put the affable, deep-voiced star on the list.

Taylor Swift. No, she hasn’t done much yet, but mark her name in the Most Promising category thanks to her guest starring stint on ‘CSI’ last year. The show’s viewership jumped by three million when the 20-year-old hot country It Girl was on portraying a murder victim. Then she showed up in ‘Valentine’ with then-boyfriend Taylor Lautner. Next, she’s playing Barbie Roberts in ‘Barbie, the Movie.’ What a doll.