Carrie Underwood Official News

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Carrie Underwood Lets Aslan Take the Wheel

If they gave an award for winning awards, Carrie Underwood would probably win that too. Last night, she was the big prize-getter at the first-ever American Country Awards, taking home honors for Artist of the Year. On Friday, her song “There’s A Place for Us” will be featured on the soundtrack to the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Could the next awards-show stop for Underwood be the Oscars?

Underwood, who was given six full-size Fender Stratocaster guitars as prizes at the ACAs, called up Speakeasy today to talk about her recent honors, her new movie theme song and why she won’t try to rhyme anything with “Narnia.”

The Wall Street Journal: Do you know where you’re going to put all the guitars you won at the ACAs?

Carrie Underwood: I have no idea. I didn’t know they were giving out guitars until I saw the first awards given out. At the end I was like six, what am I going to do with six?

How did you go about writing the song “There’s a Place for Us”?

First they approached us to see if I would be interested in something like this, and I’ve definitely been a fan of the books and movies. My mom used to read them in her classes when she was teaching. So I was definitely intrigued. The next step was watching the movie. I saw it in its very early stages. There was still a lot of green screen going on—which is always fun. I enjoy seeing things when they’re in the process of being put together. And after that, once I was on board because I really enjoyed the movie, it was all about trying to find people who would be a good fit to write with me on it. We [co-writers David Hodges and Hillary Lindsey] then all saw the movie together. And for the next four days after that went in to write. Just to see if we could come up with anything.

The movie is about an epic sea voyage. You’re from Oklahoma, a landlocked state. How did you get in the mindset to write the song?

It really wasn’t hard. The whole premise of the movie is about this other world and growing up I’ve definitely felt the way the characters in the movie felt because they’re in this place, and they felt like they should be off somewhere else having adventures and having this amazing life and instead they feel like they can never get there. So I can definitely relate to the characters, growing up in a small town and having big dreams. It’s not like we had to incorporate boats and water into the song. It was more metaphorical. It was about the feeling, not the setting.

So you never had the urge to rhyme something with “Narnia”?

No, no! We made lots of jokes. When you get stuck in the writing room, you start being silly. I was like ‘We really have to write the worst song ever and call it like ‘I Love Narnia’ and submit that one first just to see what they do. I bet we would have been off the job.

It would have been nice to give it a real country music title, like “Aslan, Take The Wheel.”

There you go. That one might have worked, though.

Feel free to use it. The book has strong religious themes. Is that part of what attracted you to this project?

It definitely is. I feel like the movie not only would appeal to people that were Christians and have a lot of faith in god, it’s also just entertaining. Even if you want to read into everything, you’re still going to be able to watch the movie and enjoy it.

You’ve said that you read the Narnia books as a kid. I could be wrong, but you don’t strike me as a big fantasy book fan.

I’m a very audio-visual person, so being able to see the images means a lot to me. The books were very entertaining. You could have a little imagination and still be able to read them and see pictures in your head. When I find books like that I always get very excited.

I guessing that you didn’t read “The Lord of the Rings” too, right?

No—it might have been a little thick reading for me. I have a very short attention span. But I did see the movies!

You wrote the song after seeing an early version, without all the effects. Do you think seeing the movie in 3-D might spur you to want to write something else?

We wrote multiple songs, and it was up to them to choose which one fit the movie the best. We provided three very different songs for them to choose from and they picked an epic ballad which I do think in the end was a very good choice.

What were those other songs like?

I did go back and watch the other two movies just to see how the songs in them were placed. They seemed to be a little more folky and mellow, so one of our songs did wind up being on its own more mellow. And the other one we wrote was more radio friendly, definitely more poppy.

Will those other songs surface somewhere else?

I don’t know if they’ll end up in any other Narnia things, but we had such a great writing session–whenever you get on a roll and get in a space and groove with people it takes on a life of its own. We had a great four-day writing session and came out with three songs where any one of them could have worked. I was so excited to be able to say look how awesome we are—we wrote you three amazing songs. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw the other two…It would be a shame to waste those.

You’re about to come out with your first major acting role with a supporting part in the movie “Soul Surfer.” Tell me about your character.

I play a youth counselor. It’s a biopic about Beth Hamilton who is a pro surfer who was attacked by a shark. The girl that I play [Sarah Hill] is way cooler than I am. She’s made a difference in the lives of a lot of young kids and families, especially the Hamilton family.

I have a theory that country stars–folks like Tim McGraw, Dwight Yoakam, Dolly Parton–make better actors than other pop stars. Is that a good theory or a bad one?

I’d say that’s a good theory. Faith Hill has done some acting, Reba [McEntire]’s done some acting of course. I can’t really think of any country music person who has been in movie that I thought—man, they need to stick to country music! So I hope I don’t burst that bubble right there. No pressure.

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