Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films With Billy Ray Cyrus

The co-star of Hannah Montana: The Movie shares his favorite films, his influences, and how David Lynch helped Miley get into showbiz.

by | April 7, 2009 | Comments


Billy Ray Cyrus

Art imitates life (and vice versa) in Hannah Montana: The Movie, in which teen idol Miley Cyrus stars as the titular character, a 16-year-old A-list celebrity desperately trying to balance stardom with her normal life. That normal life is her “real” life as Miley Stewart, a high schooler whose pop identity is only known to family and friends and who is about to get a wake-up call in the form of an extended stay in the homegrown Tennessee countryside where she grew up, courtesy of dad Robby Ray Stewart (played by Miley’s real-life father, country music star-turned-actor Billy Ray Cyrus). RT talked to the elder Cyrus about his favorite films, his transition from “Achy Breaky Heart” recording artist to Hollywood thespian, and how he credits David Lynch (and a letter from Johnny Cash) with helping daughter Miley become the teen entertainment phenomenon that she is today.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967, 91% Tomatometer)



Bonnie and Clyde
Oh my gosh! The incredible acting; the performances that are delivered in such an incredible true story. It’s a great film.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966, 98% Tomatometer)



The Good The Bad and The Ugly
Clint Eastwood is an inspiration to me as an actor. He, Robert Redford, and Michael Landon, might be three of my biggest influences as an actor. In each of those cases, it’s the fact that they play everything with a “less is more” style. There’s just something about that style that I try to tap into every now and then; it’s definitely my approach to a lot of things.

The Horse Whisperer (1998, 71% Tomatometer)



Horse Whisperer
I’m just a sucker for a good love story. And that would be another of my influences by Robert Redford. He’s been a definitive inspiration as an actor and as a role model, if you will.

Blue Velvet (1986, 90% Tomatometer)



Blue Velvet
Let’s go with Elephant Man — no, I’m going to go with Blue Velvet, for my David Lynch pick. I’m going to go with Blue Velvet because I love Roy Orbison so much. He was a great influence on me musically, and still is. That’s when I kind of put two and two together — with Blue Velvet — and thought, film is a great way for your music to be heard, without radio. It’s a great way for your music to be heard.

And that came out before you actually met David Lynch and starred in his film, Mulholland Dr.

Oh yes, it came out considerably before. I’m pretty sure I was a young hellion at the time, about wild enough to shoot at. Just rockin’ and rollin’, playing these little bars and clubs up in West Virginia and Kentucky and Ohio. Wild as can be, just crazy. It appealed to me.


Twilight (2008, 49% Tomatometer)



Twilight
I’m gonna go with the most recent film I saw that was really good. I thought Twilight was pretty killer. Put it up there, I’m gonna go with it! Even though it was about vampires, I thought it was told in a really cool way. I thought the acting was strong. And, I thought the music that accompanied the film was really cool.

 

Next: Billy Ray Cyrus on auditioning for David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr., how he credits Lynch with starting Miley Cyrus’ acting career, and his close friendships with country legends Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Waylon Jennings

Thanks to his hit single, “Achy Breaky Heart,” Billy Ray Cyrus was a household name long before starring on TV shows like Doc and Disney’s Hannah Montana, which spins off into theaters in this week’s Hannah Montana: The Movie (he plays Robby Ray Stewart, father to secret superstar Miley Stewart — played by his real-life daughter, Miley Cyrus). Below, Cyrus shares how he made the transition from country music to Hollywood, how David Lynch figures prominently in both his and Miley’s career, and which fellow country icons helped him along the way.

[rtimage]MapID=1207961&MapTypeID=2&photo=2&legacy=1[/rtimage]

At what point did you realize you wanted to act?

Billy Ray Cyrus: You know, it was in the mid-90s…my dad came down to ride horses with me, and we were sitting out in front of the campfire, just talking about things in my life. He said, “I always pictured you having one of those careers like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.” And I said, “Dad, I’d love that, but you know, how do you do that? What’s the key?” And he said, “You’ve got to get into acting! You have all of your eggs in one basket with this music thing and you need to branch out.” And so the next week, I was in Los Angeles touring, and I saw in a little newspaper that David Lynch was casting for Mulholland Dr. I called my agent — I’d never been to an audition before — and I asked, do you think I could go in and audition for this movie? I’d seen that they were looking for a character named Gene the Pool Man, and I don’t know why but something told me, surely I could go be Gene the Pool Man. I went into the audition, and lo and behold, they hired me!

During filming, David Lynch pulled me to the side and said, “I don’t have any reason to blow smoke up your butt, but I just want to tell you the truth — I think you could be a serious actor.” And I said, “Really? I’ve never done this before.” He said, “A director is looking for someone who is real, and you’re very real. I love the way you’re playing these scenes. If you just continue to be real, you can do anything you want to do as an actor.” With that note of embracement from David Lynch, I then went on to read a script called Doc, and Doc was about hope and faith and love, a very positive show on Pax TV. I went and auditioned for Dr. Clint Cassidy and they hired me, and four years, 88 episodes later, I was a full-time actor.

[rtimage]MapID=1207961&MapTypeID=2&photo=19&legacy=1[/rtimage]

You look back on it and without David Lynch, Miley wouldn’t be Hannah Montana. Without Toronto, Canada, and the fact that I did that first series…that’s when Miley fell in love with acting. She started taking a role on Doc — she became this little girl named Kylie in a recurring role — and I took her to see Mamma Mia! on the stage in Toronto. Toronto really embraced the arts and acting; at the time, it wasn’t so much like that in Nashville, they didn’t have acting classes. She was able to surround herself with some great coaches and some great thespians from the moment she said she was going to become a great actress. That was the turning point, when she said that’s what I’m going to do. She applied herself to become an actress. So without Lynch, that wouldn’t have happened.

Does he know that you credit him with Miley’s Hollywood career?

BRC: No, I don’t know that he knows that. I don’t know, but I sure would love to tell him. Why don’t you tell him for me? You put it out there, he’ll read it.

Do you stay in touch with him at all?

BRC: No, I haven’t seen him for quite some time. I haven’t seen him since we made the movie.

[rtimage]MapID=1207961&MapTypeID=2&photo=14&legacy=1[/rtimage]

One last question from our resident country fan — who helped you through the down times in your music career?

BRC: Johnny Cash. Waylon Jennings. George Jones. Those were guys that I really looked up to. Carl Perkins. Johnny Cash wrote me a letter, encouraging me to continue to be real, continue to love the music, and continue to be an original. An original, he called me; he said I reminded me of a friend of his named Elvis Presley. And that in my case and in Elvis’, the good far outweighed the bad, and as long as I would always remember to give thanks to Almighty God from whom all things that are good come from, that I would be just fine. Then he signed it, “Let ’em have it, I’m in your corner — Johnny Cash.” That’s pretty killer, isn’t it? That letter lived on the wall, right outside of Miley’s bedroom in Nashville, Tennessee. She grew up reading that letter.

Johnny Cash was a great influence in my life, as was Waylon Jennings. Carl Perkins was one of my best friends, if not my best friend at a certain point in my life. I sang at both of their funerals; I was out of town for Johnny’s, but I sung at Waylon and Carl’s funerals.

 

Hannah Montana: The Movie opens nationwide this Friday. Get the latest reviews and trailers here and check out more Five Favorite Films in our archive, including:

Five Favorite Films with Greg Mottola

Five Favorite Films with Guillermo del Toro

Five Favorite Films with Judd Apatow

Five Favorite Films with Robert Pattinson

 

Tag Cloud

HBO Max theme song binge Character Guide hist TLC Paramount Network Musical Rom-Com Film Festival 99% Universal what to watch best directors Country slashers comics TCA 2017 screenings festival marvel cinematic universe biopic Lucasfilm BBC America FX on Hulu Ovation Nickelodeon 93rd Oscars black Music nbcuniversal jurassic park king kong Disney Channel Tomatazos TBS The Academy GLAAD X-Men Family remakes cooking name the review 007 Hallmark Christmas movies canceled unscripted FX Reality WarnerMedia asian-american Endgame Adult Swim criterion spanish language Kids & Family HBO Go chucky dramedy USA Network TV renewals book adaptation Black Mirror crime CW Seed stand-up comedy Awards Tour Travel Channel Extras Baby Yoda zombies Valentine's Day Martial Arts action-comedy MSNBC A24 renewed TV shows sports Holidays films Sony Pictures historical drama adventure Sundance Calendar video dexter adenture San Diego Comic-Con Hear Us Out 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sundance Now target Comic Book Elton John Anna Paquin romantic comedy DirecTV Shudder boxoffice Cannes diversity TCA Awards Chernobyl Teen Fantasy Comics on TV Exclusive Video AMC saw 90s Discovery Channel Mindy Kaling doctor who serial killer anthology mockumentary Quiz Mystery Hulu Columbia Pictures hidden camera Freeform El Rey Britbox twilight Turner Classic Movies MTV Oscars Awards Academy Awards Opinion YouTube 2017 National Geographic SXSW Comedy BBC godzilla stoner hollywood dragons First Look travel debate Reality Competition Lifetime Christmas movies LGBT Song of Ice and Fire Horror Apple TV Plus aliens disaster toy story TCM Pop french FXX movie The CW Mudbound stop motion VICE award winner foreign blockbusters Spectrum Originals scene in color Cosplay Syfy Pixar The Arrangement A&E crossover Holiday cancelled television Crunchyroll scary movies Sundance TV blockbuster ABC Family Toys History vampires Schedule japan Infographic king arthur DGA President television DC Comics Netflix Christmas movies RT21 First Reviews satire sitcom free movies Logo mutant NBA Marvel Television Red Carpet ID miniseries Star Trek natural history finale Dark Horse Comics 72 Emmy Awards women BET Awards rotten movies we love Turner japanese Podcast die hard Video Games Amazon Prime Video FOX comedies Amazon Studios Legendary reboot crime drama Showtime Watching Series canceled TV shows political drama Avengers mcc critic resources TV Shondaland YouTube Red Star Wars indie joker sequels olympics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hispanic new york harry potter Tubi Ghostbusters Rocky Disney streaming service 71st Emmy Awards Grammys The Purge south america Christmas lord of the rings spinoff universal monsters Biopics Peacock TIFF strong female leads Brie Larson talk show 2016 reviews Acorn TV Set visit video on demand Broadway dc The Walking Dead cars Superheroe 2019 Countdown Hallmark CMT laika war OWN robots rt archives 21st Century Fox Superheroes fast and furious VOD Mary Poppins Returns Nominations dceu facebook Walt Disney Pictures zombie gangster comic books transformers emmy awards suspense USA Apple dark Tarantino Trailer Warner Bros. Summer posters singing competition kong basketball justice league Paramount Plus new star wars movies critics ITV Interview golden globes prank football cinemax CNN Rocketman BBC One ghosts Tokyo Olympics Premiere Dates legend spanish Pacific Islander witnail Netflix indiana jones 45 space ABC Signature social media discovery HBO true crime obituary Trophy Talk batman Vudu TV Land WGN Stephen King Classic Film book concert worst streaming children's TV quibi psychological thriller 4/20 ViacomCBS razzies worst movies anime spy thriller Box Office Disney+ Disney Plus superhero E3 latino Ellie Kemper superman casting RT History spain IFC cops Disney Plus period drama teaser GIFs 73rd Emmy Awards nfl Disney classics Musicals wonder woman Action ESPN comic book movie Winners science fiction series Rock based on movie Crackle comic book movies trailers Binge Guide Marvel cancelled new zealand high school Writers Guild of America Heroines thriller child's play young adult nature monster movies cartoon Cartoon Network fresh all-time Wes Anderson documentaries elevated horror TV One Television Academy werewolf E! OneApp australia PBS Image Comics Paramount IFC Films sequel Western james bond Animation rotten Masterpiece Fox News TCA PlayStation SundanceTV live action LGBTQ sag awards politics parents christmas movies YouTube Premium CBS independent adaptation 2018 Apple TV+ New York Comic Con Fall TV Epix Esquire halloween tv tv talk blaxploitation NYCC rom-coms toronto Film Food Network Spring TV zero dark thirty NBC crime thriller richard e. Grant royal family APB Election American Society of Cinematographers kaiju DC Universe Marvel Studios comic Pride Month spider-man Polls and Games game of thrones archives green book festivals Sci-Fi ABC Pet Sematary GoT biography Comedy Central police drama franchise Pirates Tumblr Creative Arts Emmys Captain marvel heist movie docudrama Lionsgate scorecard Certified Fresh Sneak Peek hispanic heritage month game show Thanksgiving documentary The Witch Mary poppins telelvision Photos halloween a nightmare on elm street italian boxing streaming movies breaking bad Bravo revenge marvel comics Television Critics Association cancelled TV series VH1 mission: impossible cults Black History Month BAFTA 2015 Amazon jamie lee curtis cancelled TV shows MCU Starz rt labs critics edition DC streaming service international Amazon Prime golden globe awards 2021 know your critic TNT versus Emmy Nominations ratings TV movies cats medical drama Drama psycho venice deadpool movies YA 1990s Funimation Emmys Nat Geo news Spike popular composers technology Trivia Mary Tyler Moore Comic-Con@Home 2021 docuseries rt labs 20th Century Fox SDCC Pop TV animated comiccon Super Bowl dogs TCA Winter 2020 Fox Searchlight feel good CBS All Access Alien screen actors guild supernatural PaleyFest 24 frames Marathons BET Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Arrowverse TruTV Women's History Month 2020 kids Year in Review Winter TV aapi slasher romance See It Skip It pirates of the caribbean The Walt Disney Company Lifetime Best and Worst