There was no breakdown scene initially, she was just supposed to go down to the Opry and sing. But I asked Bob to come down and I left the makeup chair and stood on the sidewalk with him and I gave it to him to read. I didn’t say it to him, he just read it in my journal. And he said, “Do you know it?” And I said yes and then he said. “We’ll shoot it.” So that was an electric kind of a moment, and that explains who Bob is and explains what kind of director he is and the ability he had to make those kinds of judgements. I mean a lot of people could read something and say, “Oh that’s nice,” or read it and say, “I don’t think it’s very good,” but he could not only read it, take it in, split second judge it, but then he also had the power to make it happen. Then you go out there and you shoot it with a thousand people in the audience and all the cameras—and of course all that stuff was already set to happen—but when you have that kind of synergy between us, we could make some magic. It was very, very exciting.
Looking Back on Robert Altman’s ‘Nashville’ With Its Star Ronee Blakley