(Photo : City on a Hill Studio / Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Caitlin Nicol-Thomas as Shelby Bale in 'The Song'
Caitlin Nicol-Thomas plays Shelby Bale, the other woman, in the love triangle found on The Song. Caitlin, a triple threat, acts (she was on the pilot for Nashville), sings and plays fiddle so she was a perfect fit for the character. Not just the "bad girl" in the story, Shelby is also a person with hopes, feelings, fears and dreams and Caitlin brings all of those to life, making her the one you love to hate.

In this exclusive interview with Kim Jones, Caitlin talks about what it was like to "put on" Shelby every day.

Kim Jones - Hi Caitlin! I've saved the "other woman" for last! I have to admit though, since our interview just sort of happened on the spur of the moment, I didn't have time to really study Shelby so I'll be winging it.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - We'll wing it together and I'll be your easiest person yet!

Kim Jones - You're an angel. Of course, in the movie, you're anything but! You're the other woman, complete with tattoos and a bad attitude.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - I was actually excited to play a character that had such a striking visual with all of the tattoos that added to her appearance. I was like, the more tattoos the better! In doing my research, I asked a lot of people why they got their tattoos and why they got so many. I got such an array of answers but it really helped me with getting into the backstory and why her character would have so many. It was fun, I got to design some and so did Richie.

Kim Jones - Now that sounds like fun. Will any of them come to live permanently on you?

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - Do you know, the ones I really loved were the three arrows on my forearms. Shelby had a rough past and those arrows reminded her to not look back and just keep moving forward. I loved those three little tattoos. I'm thinking that I'm still too chicken to get them, but we will see.

Kim Jones - If you decide to get them, I'll come sit with you.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - Would you? That would be so great!

Kim Jones - I was raised in an era and an area where tattoos were only seen and acceptable on three types of people - those in the military, those who had been in prison and what my grandma called "trailer park trash." So when I got my first tattoo, there were more than a few raised eyebrows and comments made in my family.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - If I do it, I'm going to definitely call you. I think that they're beautiful and I love them. I was raised in Iowa on a farm and I do love tattoos but I haven't gotten them because I'm chicken and because, honestly, I'm worried about what people would think of me. I know that's so lame and I can say it's lame. It was really interesting. On the set, everyone knew that they weren't real. But sometimes, when I would drive back from Louisville to Nashville, I would still have them on and be wearing like a v-neck t-shirt. Some people would be so great and they would come up to me and be like, "Oh my gosh! Your tattoos are so cool!" I would be like, "Thanks, but they're not real" and we would talk about it. Other people, I couldn't help but notice, treated me differently. I would be a somewhere like a gas station buying something and some people would see them and then they wouldn't even look me in the eye again. I have to say though, it really helped with my character development because it takes so much strength to walk around with tattoos. I've done tons of press leading up to the movie and people always ask me, "What do you want people to take away from the movie?" Alan is so great about saying, "Without God, life is meaningless" and he talks about putting your family first and I 100% agree with that. But what has come out of my mouth from the very beginning is "I hope people watch this movie and they will learn to stop judging people by their appearance and even what they do." We should help others and lend a hand instead of judging!

Kim Jones - Amen! I imagine that you see it from both sides of the proverbial fence. Because of your job and how you are in the public eye so much, I'm sure you've seen people judge you as "better" based on the fact that you're an actress and a musician without it having a thing to do as you as a person.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - Exactly! You shouldn't judge anyone on that surface stuff.

Kim Jones - Speaking of surface, I heard that you played every note of your own music, going beyond the surface and being 100% real in that part of your character. I heard glowing things from Vince about your talent and work ethic.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - That warms my heart! I will say that when people ask about getting into Shelby's character, in terms of performance, I WISH I was her - her tattoos, her killer clothes! I definitely brought so much of myself into it, like being able to stand up on a big, huge double bass and being able to solo and jump off of it. I've done that with guys I've played with. I love acting but music to me is my soul, my passion and my love. There was a time that I was doing over 300 shows a year. I played all over Nashville, playing all over the honky tonks, touring ... so I can relate to that part of Shelby's life.

Kim Jones - Which song on the soundtrack resonated with you the most?

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - Probably the late edition of the Emmylou Harris song, "Prayer in Open D." I have that album and I got it when it first came out. The fact that it was added and the fact that she re-recorded it for our soundtrack resonates with me 100%. I can't believe my life. When I was 15 years old, I got an acting coach and he had me write down my goals - 5 years, 10 years, 15 years. I remember, at 15 years old, writing down that I wanted to sing, play fiddle and act in a production. At the time, I thought it would be like musical theater or something. My other one was that I wanted to be on a music soundtrack with Emmylou Harris. I thought that maybe I would play fiddle with her. Of course, it didn't happen in that timeline but the fact that two of those have happened is amazing. Then there was a song that we recorded and filmed, but it didn't make it into the movie. It was called "I Like It This Way" and Shelby go to do it.. I was crying in the studio when I got to sing that.

Kim Jones - Who knows, you might could release it as a single and it could go off the charts.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - That's true. I like the way you're thinking! We're going to have to team up and release songs and get tattoos together - the works!

Kim Jones - I'm right there with you girl! We could combine our talents and be a balanced team.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - It is all about balance. I've lived that way for a long time, trying to have balance, whether it's food, working out, marriage, work - just anything. I have to stay grounded. I go home to Iowa to work on my family's farm. I spread ... things ... across the field as fertilizer, I ride tractors, I harvest corn with my uncle during season and ride horses. I work just to get my hands dirty and I have to have that in my life.

Kim Jones - It's official. I adore you! You're so real. That has been a real treat for me because every person connected to this film that I've talked to is so down to earth.

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - I'm just on cloud nine getting to be around and work with this group of people. I'll be honest - Are my biggest hopes that this will go on to be the biggest Christian film of all times? Absolutely! I dream that daily and I'm hopeful for life change and for things to keep going up and up so I can, in turn, help other people. But I also have to admit that this movie could do nothing. It wouldn't be that I was back at square one because so many wonderful things have already come from it, but it keeps me humble to remember that it could go nowhere. No matter what, I have to keep moving forward towards what is in front of me. I'm hopeful though. For me, this film is so real and so raw. I know that there are some people from certain areas have said, "Oh but they never ask a Pastor for advice" or "They don't talk about Jesus enough" even though the whole movie is narrated from Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. But it's real and it's real life. I feel like God made us these amazing, amazing creatures but as humans, we have free will and we have to make choices on our own. If He didn't want us to have to work that hard, we wouldn't have been made this way. That's why I'm so proud of this and why I had to do it. It's not cheesy, it's real. We dealt with any level of things that come along in this movie. There's not always an easy answer. We have to make choices when we're out doing our daily lives. But at the end, we have a redemptive and loving God and He's in the movie just like He's in our real lives. I think people will resonate with it. We can't live without talking about things, it sets us back. Doing is a verb, not a noun.

Kim Jones - Amen! Speaking of doing, what is your husband's response to you doing this movie?

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - He's outrageously proud of me. Not because I got to play the other woman, but because of what I learned from it. Playing Shelby made me love myself more and have more self respect. I hope teenage girls and women will see this and have more self worth and make choices through those eyes. On Sunday, we celebrate our first anniversary. He's a musician, on the road with Kevin Costner and Lyle Lovett and Jerry Douglas, so he's on the road a lot and just because of our jobs, we've had to overcome a lot and do so much work to be able to give each other what we need.

Kim Jones - Well happy early anniversary! Last question for you - is there anything you wish you had been asked about this project that you haven't been?

Caitlin Nicol-Thomas - I can honestly say that no question pops into my head but something did pop right in there the minute you finished asking and I'm nervous to say it, but, I think that I want to say that God is everywhere in a loving way. When I grew up, it wasn't in the church, but it was a spiritual home with my mom. Even when I was a young girl, my mom would tell me, "You don't have to go to a place with four walls to pray and talk to God and have a relationship with Him." I would ride my bike out to a park in my hometown and I would sit there, not just on a Sunday, and I would just talk to God like He was my friend. I hope people know that it doesn't have to be 10 o'clock on a Sunday. He's everywhere and He's kind and He's loving. God is your friend and He's anywhere you need Him to be.

(Photo : City on a Hill Studio / Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Caitlin Nicol-Thomas and Alan Powell in 'The Song'