Chris Jericho to Star in UPtv Movie ‘Country Hearts’ – FIRST LOOK

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Chris Jericho to Star in UPtv Movie ‘Country Hearts’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Pro wrestling legend Chris Jericho is set to star in the upcoming UPtv original movie “Country Hearts,” premiering Oct 22 on the network.

ET has an exclusive first look at the first promo for the country-music-tinted family drama, starring the professional wrestler as a former rock star named Bones. He shares a trio of daughters with a country music songstress — and all of the kids have dreams of becoming singers.

As one of the daughters explains, their musical talent is in their blood. “When a rock star meets a country music superstar and they have a bunch of kids, it’s kind of in our DNA.”

“After playing evil priests, insane asylum security chiefs, redneck social media whistle blowers and cult leaders, I jumped at the chance to play a nice guy for once in ‘Country Hearts!’” Jericho said in a statement. “I was able to flex my acting chops and my character range in these movies and it was a blast to play Bones Jamieson…father, ranch owner and rock star…which basically mirrors me in real life!”

Synopsis

The film, which will premiere this fall, follows “the daughters of country music and rock & roll royalty who find themselves at a crossroads, torn between following their dreams of performing or helping their father run their up-and-coming horse breeding business,” per the official description. “Between old flames, new love, best friends and family – they’ll all need the strength of each other to face the next steps.”

Cast

Along with Jericho, the cast for the film also includes Lanie McAuley, Katerina Maria, Brendan Morgan, Jeff Irving, Craig Strickland, David Pinard, Michelle Nolden, Genevieve Fisher, Roy Lewis, Lara Amersey, Greg Ellwand, Bebsabe Duque, Celine Bauwmans, and Neil Whitely. A sequel, “Country Hearts Christmas,” has been greenlit already.

“Country Hearts” was written by Jennifer Snow. Marco Deufemia is the director. Beth Stevenson, Nancy Yeaman, Stan Hum and Rebecca Lamarche from Brain Power Studio serve as executive producers.

You’ve done movies and TV before, but Country Hearts feels like a departure for you. How did the role come about? 

Chris Jericho: The one thing about acting and Hollywood is it comes in waves. I never really had the breakout role, but I’ve always had good ones. I think in the past couple of years I’ve probably had the most parts ever. The first one was called Terrifier 2, which last Halloween made $12 million on a $250,000 budget. I was in that. Then after that, I got Dark Match which I filmed in Edmonton. Then after that, this opportunity came along to be the lead in Country Hearts. I was thinking, “What kind of murder mystery is this? Am I the killer? What kind of vengeance is being bestowed on the villagers of the country.”

It ended up being nothing like that, but a dramatic part. It almost had a Hallmark Channel sort of vibe. This was an offer, which was rare in Hollywood. When I looked at the part, I realized it’s very dramatic, deep, and emotional. I thought it was great and something I’d been wanting to do. Being in a horror movie, that is what you would expect Chris Jericho to be in. But to be in a Christian-themed music drama where I play a father of daughters and have a wife. This project is really cool and something nobody would expect me to do. I’m always attracted to those opportunities.

Tell me about Bones. There are some similarities with you on the road as a traveling rock star and wrestler. How much did you relate to him? 

This is a cool character. I like who he is and where he came from. This was a great way to stretch my acting chops to prove I could do this. Not just as bodyguard number one performer. I can relate to Bones a thousand percent. Not just the fact he was a touring musician. He reinvented himself, which is something I know about. Here he is as an owner of a horse-breeding farm. The character has a connection to me, but at the same time, I’ve never ridden a horse in my life. If I did, it was maybe once or twice. I think those are the parts that make you a great actor. Take the things you can relate to and internalize them, putting your mind on to something new and learning about them.

I remember when I was taking acting lessons in 2005 or 2006. If someone asks you if you can skydive or something, you say yes and then figure it out before the shoot. When you’re talking about a horse farm and breeding champion racehorses, you learn. When you deliver this dialogue, which is kind of like delivering the mid-chlorian dialogue in Star Wars, you better figure it out and learn these words and make it seem like you know what you’re talking about. The other good thing is Bones is learning too. Bones isn’t quite sure what the hell he is doing. So it was a great combination of subjects I knew and subjects I had no idea about that you learn.

With a follow-up Country Hearts Christmas coming out next month, you had the chance to really dig into the character. 

There is potential to do more, too. I’ve been doing showbiz for 30 years because wrestling is show business. You can tell when something is good. This is really good as you see it start to come together. We can do so much with this story. There are a lot of different layers. At first, I wasn’t sure what to think, but once we started filming, I thought I could play this character for a while. It’s a really cool movie. Sometimes things find you that you weren’t expecting. Hopefully, we can do more. We filmed both movies over the course of the month with two different directors and two different vibes. I felt like I was Michael J. Fox on the set of Back to the Future 2 where they did 3 at the same time. There was a lot here.

In AEW, you’re among the veterans helping develop a lot of new talent like Will Hobbs and Sammy Guevara. How rewarding is that for you? 

Wrestling is storyline-based. When it came to losing to Hobbs for example, storyline-wise it was what was best for the story. Chris Jericho is an actor playing a role on a show. It’s like if Bones is supposed to lose the horse semen sample, which is one of the things that happens. The script says it’s what they want you to do. Wrestling is the same way.  A lot of guys don’t see it this way, but I’ve always had. I have always treated it as show business.

The characters and story are way more important than the match, even though the matches are important too. I enjoy this stage of my career, but I’ve enjoyed every stage of my career because I’m always about telling stories. Some stories you win, some stories you lose. Some stories are Empire Strikes Back where everyone loses, and you think it’s the end of the road until the heroes come back. I take everything in stride and treat things as a great storyline with ups and downs.

How was it to see Adam Copeland sign with AEW? 

Adam is one of the all-time greats. I was surprised when he showed up. I never thought we would see it, but I don’t think people thought they’d see me wrestling outside of WWE either. To have him in AEW is great. An old friend too. Wrestling is a lot like the army in a sense you have ones you were in the trenches with and you go home and don’t see them for years and meet up again. Then it’s like no time has passed. That is what it has been like with Adam. Plus, having a guy with so much experience. Such skill.

It’s easy now to say at 52, but age is just a number. I think both of us are in the best shape of our lives and know more on the experience level. We can still work at the highest of levels. Who is putting a number on anything? The Rolling Stones just put out one of their best songs in 30 years, and Mick Jagger is 80. It’s all about how you are perceived and how you can deliver. If you can do that, you can still entertain people.

Chris Jericho AEW

You’ve gotten to know AEW owner Tony Khan well over the years. The company has faced its share of challenges in 2023. How do you think he has handled things, specifically on social media? One thing you can’t deny is he is a passionate guy. 

Tony is a passionate guy. Nobody is going to tell him what to do, and nobody should. He also comes from a generation of people who were involved in social media. He was on the message boards. Jon Moxley became a fan from videotapes. I became a fan from watching cable wrestling on the low-level UHF channels or wrestling magazines. To me magazines were life. Tony is always going to be involved in social media because that’s how he became a fan. That’s how it is. Whether you like it or not, that’s what it is. He has built a multi-million dollar pro wrestling company in a short period of time so there are going to be growing pains.

We all work together every week to put together the best show we can and We have long-term planning and a structure and things going on that are exciting. We worked through all the pros and cons, no pun intended. And things are going really well and will continue to do so. It’s pro wrestling. It’s never gonna be all great. There is always going to be the Wild West vibe because wrestling is that by design. It’s not hockey or football or a scripted movie like Country Hearts. You have to go with the flow. It’s unlike anything else. It’s hard to see from the outside looking in, but when you’re on the inside looking out, it’s business as usual. And business is going really well.

Chris Jericho

Who out of the AEW roster do you see breaking into movies or TV? 

You never know. You would never know Batista (Dave Bautista) would be the best actor out of everyone. Nothing against The Rock, John Cena, or other WWE guys. Who knows? You can throw in Darby Allin and MJF, who play great characters. Guys like that. I think Jon Moxley does great in a movie. Any top guy who captivates people at the highest level would be good actors. I’ve been acting for more than 30 years since October 2, 1990, when I started acting because that’s what I got into wrestling.

It’s all about playing a character and morphing and evolving in the role to keep people engaged. That’s any movie or TV show. I’m watching The Righteous Gemstones right now and Danny McBride is a great actor. All are great actors and characters. You may see Danny and not see him as a leading man because he doesn’t look like Brad Pitt, but he is excellent. It’s the same in wrestling. Acting being on this movie set is different from where wrestling is live and has that instant gratification. I haven’t even seen Country Hearts yet. I hope I was good. We’ll see.

I’ll give your performance five stars Chris! 

Thank you. I can’t wait to be up for an Emmy.

Country Hearts — co-starring Lanie McAuley, Katerina Maria, David Pinard and Craig Strickland — premieres Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on UPtv.

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Chiara

Source: Variety

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