"Hart of Dixie" fans congregated at the Alamo Drafthouse in early June for the second annual ATX Television Festival in Austin, TX, where they were treated to a Q&A session -- moderated by "Vampire Diaries" actress Arielle Kebbel -- with show creator Leila Gerstein and cast members Scott Porter and Wilson Bethel. Before the festival kicked off the Q&A session, audience members relived the Season 2 finale of The CW dramedy via an exclusive screening.
Along with creator Gerstein, Porter (George Tucker) and Bethel (Wade Kinsella) shared tales from the audition process, thoughts on the shows ultra-passionate Twitter fans, and amusing behind-the-scenes tidbits.
Take it off!
Porter and Bethel were both auditioning for the same role on the NBC drama "Grimm" when they were offered their respective roles in "Hart of Dixie." Much to the festival attendees surprise, Gerstein revealed that Porter was always her first choice to play George Tucker; she even wrote the part with Porter in mind. Porter informed the audience that he did not take the part of Tucker until he was sure that Bethel would be cast as the often-shirtless bad boy Wade Kinsella. Attendees erupted in laughter when Wilson said his contract includes a clause that requires him to take off his shirt in "Hart of Dixie" upon request.
Over the past two seasons, "Hart of Dixie" has proven to be a popular launch pad for small bands, mostly in the country music genre. With that in mind, Kebbel asked creator Gerstein if she planned for "Hart of Dixie" to have such strong musical influences, and what provoked her to set the show in a small town like Bluebell. Gerstein said, "The show was always going to be set in the South. Bluebell felt like a place that hadn't been seen before. When I was coming up with the pilot, the BP oil spill was going on, and I was hearing all these amazing stories coming out on 'This American Life.' News pieces on small little towns, where everyone was working together, seemed so beautiful to me. Those stories of community really touched me."
As for the country music appeal of the show, "It became the selling point of 'Hart of Dixie,'" Gerstein said. We would be the first show on the air to have a country music soundtrack -- which was on the rise at the time -- so, it did help the overall appeal of the show with its unique sound." Gerstein was quick to sing the praises of the "Hart of Dixie" music department: "They go above and beyond to find small bands no one has heard of. We were actually the first show to feature music by The Lumineers!"
As the Q&A session winded down, Porter mentioned that Gerstein refuses to join the social networking site Twitter because of the shows ultra-passionate Twitter fanbase. Porter and Bethel both agreed that the responses they receive after an episode has aired can sometimes be a little "scary." Porter explained that some fans tweet him with complaints, as if they are communicating with his character on "Hart of Dixie." You may never see Gerstein send a tweet, but she assured attendees that all the Twitter love -- although sometimes intense -- is heard loud and clear in the writers' room.
"Hart of Dixie" stars Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart, Jaime King as Lemon Breeland, Cress Williams as Lavon Hayes, Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella, and Scott Porter as George Tucker. The show will return for the 2013-14 television season on Monday nights at 8 PM on The CW.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Leila Gerstein
- Scott Porter
- Wilson Bethel