Hayden Panettiere: My Nashville Character Isn't Based on Taylor Swift

Entertainment Jul. 28, 2012 AT 3:15PM
Taylor Swift and actress Hayden Panettiere attend the 2012 Teen Choice Awards. Taylor Swift and actress Hayden Panettiere attend the 2012 Teen Choice Awards. Credit: Kevin Mazur/TCA 2012/WireImage

The comparisons were inevitable, but Hayden Panettiere wants fans to know she isn't trying to emulate Taylor Swift on her new ABC series Nashville.

"I've heard the Taylor Swift thing quite a bit. And I think aside from being around the same age and blonde, we're very different," Panettiere, 22, explained during Disney/ABC's Television Critics Association event in Beverly Hills July 27. "I think once you see her and get to know my character a little bit better, you'll see that. I really think Taylor would disagree wholeheartedly as well. She's much nicer than my character!"

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In Nashville, Panettiere plays an up-and-coming singer named Juliette Barnes. Her character is offered the opportunity to tour with a country music legend, Rayna James (Connie Britton), and the two women quickly develop a rivalry.

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"I've grown up [acting] my whole life, and one thing that my parents instilled in me was definitely respect for other people. So when I have to go on set and completely go against the grain and disrespect somebody, it's definitely something new to me," Panettiere explained. "I even get a little bit shy sometimes. They'll say 'cut' and I'll be like, 'I'm so sorry! You know I adore you. I respect you.' But it's interesting and it does make it fun."

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Their new series will also give Panettiere and Britton a chance to showcase their musical abilities. "For me, it's a dream come true, because as an actor, to have the opportunity to stretch my muscles in this way. . .  I have sung my whole life, but not really that professionally," Britton, 45, said. "As an actor, to be able to work with the best writers and the best music producers, that's also a dream come true."

Nashville premieres October 10 at 10 p.m. EST on ABC.

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