Saturday, June 27, 2015 / 9:31 am
Talking Jackie & Ryan
Katherine Heigl and Jackie & Ryan co-star Ben Barnes have been busy promoting the July 3 release of the indie romantic drama.
Speaking to The Wrap, Katherine explained how her husband Josh Kelley helped her get her singing voice in tune for her role in the movie, how much she enjoyed shooting in Utah, some of the differences between studio and independent pictures, and why she hasn't ruled out the rom-com game.
For her role as Jackie, Katherine had to sing the song Down On Penny's Farm, an old prairie tune that's seen updates by the likes of Natalie Merchant.
"If I hadn't been married to a musician for the past 10 years, and getting better at understanding music and how to sing - when to breathe and not to breathe, and all that stuff - I would never have had the courage," Heigl said.
"I listened to the original version and thought, 'Oh shit. I can't sing this song. It's not in my key.' I took it to Josh and he reworked it for me. I don't have a beautiful singing voice, but there are lots of really iconic musicians like Janice Joplin or Neil Diamond who don't have traditional voices, but they are memorable and it sounds cool," she said.
In Jackie & Ryan, Heigl portrays a woman struggling through a divorce and custody battle who connects with a musical drifter, played by Ben Barnes. Director Ami Canaan Mann accommodated Heigl's family by changing locations from Georgia to Utah, where she resides.
"Originally, Ami had envisioned Atlanta or, where she's from, Ohio. I just said, 'Look, I know it's a low-budget. There's not a lot of money. I know you can't afford to bring my children and put us all up on location, but I can't leave my kids for four weeks. Ami very graciously moved the location to Utah and seamlessly made it work," Katherine recalled.
Heigl said that she was always uncomfortable with the extent of traditional star "perk packages" - except when it comes to balancing her work and family life.
"Before I had children, my lawyer would be negotiating the perk package, and I remember saying to him, 'Are you crazy? I don't need a a masseuse every week!' Who has time for that? It's crazy what the studios are willing to give you. It's so indulgent - it's wonderful, but when you're doing an indie it's like, 'Is there a shack to house my two children and husband?' But the beauty of doing a movie like this is that we're there for the right reasons," she said.
Heigl's received critical praise for her turn in the film, as well as for "Jenny's Wedding," a lesbian drama co-starring Alexis Bledel that IFC will release on July 31. But don't count her out of the rom-com game. "I recently read a really fun ensemble romantic comedy and I thought that would be so fun to do, too. It's been a while for me, and I don't think anyone has been doing those over the past few years," she said. "Hollywood is so cyclical but it comes back in waves. I hadn't read one so right. But we'll see - I have to get them to hire me."