Actor and musician Sam Palladio is probably best known for his current regular role as Gunnar Scott on ABC’s musical country drama Nashville. Fans can’t resist the British actor’s singing and impressive southern accent, and it turns out neither can Disney and Lucasfilm.
Palladio voices a key character in George Lucas’s new animated film Strange Magic. He plays the elf Roland, who was originally envisioned as a Frenchman but evolved into a character more fitting for Palladio.
“I guess that word got across to Disney and Lucasfilm that there’s a guy on this show that could definitely fit this new breakdown of Roland, which was a southern charmer, and amazingly they were interested in working with me and I was absolutely over the moon,” he told the Daily Dot.
Fans will no doubt enjoy listening to Palladio’s southern tone in the film just as they do in Nashville, where he plays a song engineer and songwriter. His relationships with characters like Scarlett O’Connor are particularly popular among the fandom.
Hoping @Nashville_ABC will be back on soon as well! I need me some Gunnar.— Emily (@see_emilyplay) January 12, 2015
Gunnar on Nashville is definition of perfect— Emily (@Emahhhleeee) January 22, 2015
Palladio doesn’t shy away from getting involved with fans. He’s active on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. On Twitter especially he will retweet and respond to fans who reach out to him.
@mskinis7 thanks for the suggestion! Had a fun night there. X— Sam Palladio (@SamPalladio) January 18, 2015
@mypalladio good luck with the presentation. Hope you get an A, if not I'll speak to someone haha x— Sam Palladio (@SamPalladio) January 23, 2015
Recently he’s been discussing Strange Magic more than Nashville with his fans. The ABC show isn’t yet back from its midseason break. According to Palladio, having the chance to work with Lucasfilm was a life-long dream.
“George [Lucas] with Star Wars sort of shaped my childhood. It really did. So anything that his name was attached to was a no brainer. With the characters he’s created, the worlds that he’s created over the years, I just knew the idea of an animated beautiful fairy tale, a love story would be really, really exciting,” he said.
Palladio remained in Tennessee while working on the film. The first time he met his fellow cast mates was at a press event this month. He called the experience a freeing one and very different from the strict TV filming schedule.
“To balance both I was lucky. It didn’t take too much vocal warming up because I’d been on set at Nashville singing a song and speaking in a southern dialect and then in a couple of hours I’ve got to be in the studio. It just took some bigger choices dialect-wise, some funny tongue twisters, to warm up into Roland’s much more glorious and over-exaggerated southern charm than Gunnar, who’s a little bit more understated,” he explained.
Either way his Nashville fans will clearly be following him onto the big screen.
Strange Magic is currently in theaters. Nashville returns to ABC on Feb. 4.