Tim McGraw Relishes Roles New, Old … and Dark
Tim McGraw is officially a hyphenate.
Although Tim remains tremendously popular as a country superstar, he's increasingly becoming known for his acting abilities. The singer earned positive reviews for his role as Sean Tuohy in 'The Blind Side,' which opened surprisingly well Nov. 20 against a little film called 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon.' He'll also appear opposite Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow in a movie that is filming in Nashville this month.
The Boot talked to Tim about other roles he'd love to play and why you will never see him at one of his own movies. He also opens up about the strange advice he's gotten to end his marriage of 13 years to fellow country star Faith Hill ... in order to make better music?! And speaking of music, while his latest CD 'Southern Voice' topped the country charts just last month, Tim is already hard at work on his next country collection, calling us during a break from a songwriting session in Nashville.
In 'The Blind Side,' you play a doting husband and father, similar to your role in 'Flicka.' Are you looking for scripts that will let you express other sides, such as the alcoholic dad in 'Friday Night Lights'?
Yeah. It's tough because that's not what people want to see me do typically, but that's what I want to do! [laughs] But if good material comes along and it's not anything like a character you want to play ... if it's good material and you feel like you can capture it, you do it. But if I'm doing a movie, I'd rather do the darkest, most human emotional kind of thing that I can do.
Oh, that's a great character. I don't necessarily want to be the bad guy. I just like the rawness of human emotion on any end of the spectrum. I'm not really crazy about the lukewarmness of things.
Are you happy with how you're progressing as an actor? What do you think when you see yourself up on screen?
I can't watch myself. I hate seeing myself. I hate listening to myself, seeing myself, any of that stuff.
It's a good thing you're not dependent upon yourself to buy your records.
I wouldn't buy my records. The only time I listen to myself is when we're mixing to get the mixes right. Or I make mental notes as we record an album.
What do you feel you've done most successfully in your career?
I don't even like to use the word "success," because it's not really success ... although I love everything that comes along with success. But it's about the journey to get better, and I feel like I'm only about 30% into that journey. There's a lot more ahead of me improvement wise, musically and acting. I just now feel like I'm starting to really understand myself a little more to find some better spots and some more honest spots. It's about honesty; it's about how do I get better the next time out.
So you love everything that comes with success ... even the public intrusion into your private life?
I do like my job. It beats the hell out of roofing. Music has given me everything good in my life. I wouldn't have met my wife without music; my kids wouldn't be able to go to the school that they go to without music; we wouldn't have been able to travel the world and experience things on the level that we've experienced them without music. I like success, I like being secure, I like my family being secure. I don't mind the public stuff that comes along with it. It confounds me sometimes the whole build-you-up, tear-you-down thing that goes on, especially with my wife and I being together. It seems like that there's always been sort of "We loved y'all being together but now that you're together and you're happy, we'd much rather if you guys stayed together for two or three years and have this terrible breakup and had a lot of great songs that come out of it."
If they listen to your songs, many of which are very dark, they know you don't have to go through a break-up to get that.
I know. What I'm saying is it's almost like, "But if you stay together and you're happy then you're really going to piss us off and we don't want anything to do with you." [laughs]
Do you think you understand yourself better since turning 40 a couple of years ago?
No, that wasn't a major event; in fact, I looked forward to it. I actually feel like ... even for the next 10 years, you're young enough to still go tear the roof off the place, but you're old enough to know how to go about it the right way, so it's like a perfect storm right now. There's knowledge that you've gained throughout the years, there's still more knowledge to come so you're hungry to learn. You're still young enough that you can throw caution to the wind, but throwing caution to the wind and having some knowledge and still having some horizons to reach is a pretty good place to be.