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My First Time in Variety: Connie Britton Looks Back to 1995

These days, four-time Emmy nominee Connie Britton is singing her country heart out on “Nashville,” which just wrapped its second season on ABC. But back in the early ’90s — before she spun her comedic magic on “Spin City” or became half of one of TV’s most beloved couples on “Friday Night Lights” — Britton was just another struggling actress in New York, when she happened to spot an ad in Backstage for what would become “The Brothers McMullen.”

How did the audition for “Brothers McMullen” go?

I was out of town visiting my sister that weekend, and really debated (going back in for the audition) because it meant I was going to have to get on an earlier train out of Washington, D.C., to get back. I showed up in some office building where Eddie Burns was holding auditions. I read two different roles; the one I ended up playing and the role of the woman who was having the affair with my character’s husband. And then he cast me right then and there. I thought to myself: Boy this really isn’t going to be a good movie, if he’s casting me right then and there!

How did you feel about that time in your life?

I look back on those days so fondly because we really just did it for the fun of it. We were not paid. We were trying to get experience. We wanted to bond as a family. And we really did become one.

What was the hardest thing about that time?

The unknown. As an actor, there’s always self-doubt, which never really goes away. When you’re starting out, it’s going by faith. You’re not getting a lot of validation, you’re getting a lot of rejection.

If you could go back, would you do anything differently?

No. Isn’t that funny? In some ways, I think I idealized that time, because I was fortunate to have had it. I was able to just go and be in New York and do what I had to do. I did it my way. There was no path. There was no set of directions. There was no rule book. We were all just figuring it out as we went.

What did that role do for your career?

It did everything for my career. In every possible way, it was the quintessential big break. When our movie won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, I’ll never forget that feeling. It was shocking and mind-blowing and just beautiful. I remember Maxine Bahns, who was Eddie’s girlfriend in the movie, looked at me and said, “It’s never going to be like this again.” And she was right. It never has been.

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