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If the last decade is any indication, there's no stopping the love affair between Nashville and Hollywood.
Faith Hill, who's making her debut in The Stepford Wives this summer, may be the latest star to grace the big screen, but it was George Strait who jump-started the modern-day country-movie connection in the early '90s when he starred in Pure Country. George's natural charisma and easygoing charm - along with a hot soundtrack - helped lift the small, unpretentious film to box office success. That paved the way for stars like Reba McEntire, Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw to hunt for good movie roles. Reba had already appeared in the cult hit Tremors, and she went on to score big-screen roles in North, The Little Rascals and One Night at McCool's, while Dwight has put his eccentric, rebel image to perfect use in Sling Blade, Panic Room and others.
Just this year, Tim is showing up in a couple of movies - Black Cloud and Friday Night Lights. He has also dropped hints that he and wife Faith Hill might one day star in a movie of their own. And Kris Kristofferson, an actor for over 30 years now, recently enjoyed major roles in several blockbusters, including Blade and the big-budget remake of a sci-fi classic, Planet of the Apes.
So what's the big attraction? No doubt, there's the glamour of starring in a Hollywood movie. But beyond that, stars simply want to see how far they can stretch their talents.
"I wanted to see if I could do it," declares Tim, who spent time searching for the right role before settling on Black Cloud, the story of a Native American boxer.
Reba also confessed that she was in the market before taking on her first movie, Tremors, in 1990. The campy science fiction feature provided Reba with a part that would tap into her nonmusical side.
"I was looking for movie and television roles," says Reba. "But every script had me as a girl singer in a honky-tonk band, which is what I did for a living." In other words, why play yourself?
That's essentially what George did in Pure Country - but with the noted distinction of portraying a burned-out country singer. But he wasn't aiming to stretch or fulfill some empty spot in his career.
"I thought if I could do it and not come off looking like a beginner, that's all I wanted," George declared. "I'm sure I did look like a beginner, but not so much that people would laugh at it. I think I accomplished that, hopefully."
Clint Black relished the challenge of the big screen Western comedy Maverick, as well as the lead role in the TV movie Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack.
"Acting is another way for me to expand my creative canvas," Clint remarked. "I love to challenge myself. There's nothing like looking at something new and being a little afraid, a little anxious ... and then doing it!" Clint had so much fun making movies that he vowed, "I'm ready to do this again."
And Clint has kept his word. Since Cadillac Jack, he scored a major role in the TV movie Going Home, as well as a cameo in the recent Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson movie, Anger Management.
It's a surefire bet that more country stars will light up the silver screen in years to come. Here's a look back at the decade's top films starring country's finest. We'll also take you back to the early days of country music movies and revisit some classics - and a few clunkers, too. It's all part of our 10th-year anniversary salute to country's own brand of movie magic.