Leighton Meester discovered a lot about herself while making the new film, 'Country Strong,' including that, much to her surprise, she's depressed.

In the movie, which opens January 7, Leighton plays Chiles Stanton, a country ingenue who goes on her own musical journey as she begins to write songs from her heart. "Because of this movie, I started doing that for myself and writing music that speaks to me and is from my heart," she tells The Boot with a laugh, "and apparently, I'm really depressed."

Leighton is no stranger to the recording studio -- she's released two singles on Time Act Music/Universal Republic and also guested on Cobra Starship's hit, 'Good Girls Go Bad' -- but those pop tunes didn't prepare her for 'Country Strong.' "It's country music, it's an entirely different world," Leighton says. "I grew to love it, and I have this movie to thank for that." Plus, her character has to develop in a quick burst from an artist who chokes on stage to one who has command over a large audience.

To prepare, Leighton went to both downtrodden country bars and such holy sites as Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, where she saw "Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride, and they're incredibly confident and huge and they know what they're doing with their bodies."

Since filming finished last year, Leighton has been writing a few songs, including penning some on the guitar co-star Gwyneth Paltrow gave her after shooting ended. "I just wrote a song at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris," she says. "The guitar has been a nice tool for me to be able to write. I want to release the music, but I'm not pressured to do it at the moment."

As Chiles Stanton, Leighton sings several songs in 'Country Strong,' including Sara Evans' new single, 'A Little Bit Stronger.' She also duets with Garrett Hedlund on 'Give In to Me.' Watch their performance below.

More on 'Country Strong':

'Country Strong' Movie Times

Gwyneth Paltrow Interview

Tim McGraw Interview

Garrett Hedlund Sings 'Chances Are'

'Country Strong' Characters Revealed

'Country Strong' Soundtrack Details