Britney Spears Inspired ‘Country Strong’ Lead, Director Says

'I was seeing what was happening in the media to Britney Spears,' filmmaker Shana Feste says of crafting upcoming flick.

Gwyneth Paltrow may have honed her country-music skills for her role in the upcoming flick “Country Strong,” but her troubled character was actually inspired by a pop sensation.

In the film, Paltrow plays embattled crooner Kelly Canter, who fights to resurrect her struggling career as a music superstar. Writer/director Shana Feste recently told the Los Angeles Times that Paltrow’s onscreen drama was inspired by the very public meltdown of pop megastar Britney Spears .

“That’s where this movie came from. I mean, I was seeing what was happening in the media to Britney Spears,” Feste said.

The filmmaker also added that wrapping up the script coincided with the outsize media frenzy surrounding another superstar. “I finished the script when Michael Jackson passed away ,” she revealed.

Feste also lamented the dark side of celebrity-making, which entails ripping apart a once-beloved public figure at the first misstep. “I think it’s tragic how we treat people who give us so much, and we love to see them knocked down to build them back up again, to knock them down again,” she said. “It’s a weird fascination.”

Paltrow has said that work on the project was challenging, due to both the physical and creative demands of the role.

“It was brutal,” she told MTV News in September. “It was a brutal shoot. I mean, I wasn’t naked, naked, but I was semi-naked, in various stages of undress. [My character] has a drug and alcohol problem, so she’s struggling a lot. It was a lot of fun for me, as an artist.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Country Strong.”

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