You play a country star in Country Strong. Who gave you your crash course in the genre?
My husband [Coldplay’s Chris Martin], who grew up with a lot of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. Then I got really into bluegrass. I’m a country fan now. My friends from New York are like, ”What the f— are you listening to?” I’m like, ”It’s Miranda Lambert! You need to get into it, people!”
Were you given a specific real-life model for your character, Kelly Canter?
No. I had a very strong sense of who I felt she was, and then I watched every [live] DVD of every country woman ever. It was like school. Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton — she plays all bar chords [on guitar] because she has such long nails. Watching Faith Hill, how she holds the microphone, with her thumb underneath. Physically we’re very similar. Obviously she’s much prettier than I am, but we’re the same type. I latched on to Faith in terms of physicality. I also wanted to bring an edgier, Courtney Love-ish, Shelby Lynne thing to it, because I felt like my character wishes she were Faith Hill, but she is a little bit too punk rock.
How are your guitar skills now? Can you hold your own on stage?
Uh…you know. More or less. My husband says I’m better than Bono, worse than the Edge.