Shania Twain is still the one.
Monarch stars Susan Sarandon as fictional country music legend Dottie Cantrell Roman, the head of the powerful Roman family whose scandalous dealings in and outside of the music industry are the talk of Nashville.
While working with Sarandon—and an ensemble cast featuring Trace Adkins, Anna Friel and Beth Ditto—provided the bulk of the juicy drama, for Joshua Sasse, who plays Dottie's son and the CEO of Monarch Entertainment Luke Roman, it was one of the show's A-list guest stars who really got him flustered.
"It was surreal for me working with Shania, because Shania is playing Shania," Sasse exclusively told E! News. "We had a scene in her dressing room and we rehearsed on set, so we hadn't really met each other before we went straight into this rehearsal."
The entire thing made for quite the out-of-body experience for Sasse.
"My character is calling her Shania and she's there in full regalia," he said. "I don't know if you'll see it on camera, but I was pissing myself because it's Shania Twain! And I'm calling her Shania! I was just giggling. That's the wonderful thing about this job. You get to be in the most extraordinary circumstances."
Of course, acting alongside Oscar winner Sarandon provided an entirely different challenge—namely, trying to not get swallowed up by her aura.
"She's so fearless," Sasse said of his co-star. "I was palpably aware of saturating every single minutiae of that performance because it's so nuanced. At once, she's totally effortless. At the time time, she's giving an enormous amount of information with just the slightest inflections and movements. It's just like an internal masterclass."
It turns out that Sasse's obvious reverence for Sarandon blossomed into a lovely relationship that went far beyond the confines of the set, touching the lives of Sasse's wife and their children.
"Me and Susan became really, really close friends," Sasse said. "The minute she flew into town, she came straight from the airport to my house and we'd have dinner every night. She got on really well with my wife and my kids just adore her. We all call her ‘Honey.' She'd open the door and my son would say, ‘Honey!' We formed this really, really wonderful friendship."
Monarch premieres Sept. 11 after the NFL on Fox.
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