Country music icon George Strait shocked his fans and the music industry when he starred in the film “Pure Country” in 1992.
The movie stars Dusty, played by Strait. He is a country artist who is tired of the extravagance and fame and looks to get back to what made him start making music in the first place.
In the process, he finds his voice and his inspiration. It was a story of soul-searching and redemption and the gentleness and charisma that George Strait exudes fit the role perfectly.
According to Rolling Stone, the movie grossed $15.1 million. However, the movie had gotten some negative reviews when it first came out. More country fans now have taken a liking to the ’90s flick, however.
Why Did George Strait Venture into Acting?
Strait was notoriously known for trying to avoid on-camera appearances earlier on in his career. The fact that he then made a movie really did surprise a lot of people.
He never really saw the potential in himself to act, but others around him did. For example, IMDb states that the film happened because of Elvis Presley’s manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker. He had pestered Strait for years to make movies. Eventually, it got to Strait enough to agree to make a movie. He then started the process with Jerry Weintraub, who managed John Denver.
“[Strait] was kind of hesitant at first. He said to me, ‘What do I have to gain? I sell a lot of albums. I’ve got a great life. What is this going to do for me? And I don’t know how to act,'” Weintraub said, according to Rolling Stone.
Strait had to prove he was good for the role by singing 10 songs and knowing how to rope something.
Even though he ended up enjoying the role, Strait was nervous about a few things. Namely, he was not at all a fan of the movie’s title. He believed that “Pure Country” made it sound like the movie was all about country, according to IMDb. Strait believed it was much more than that and asked the studio to consider changing the name.
Obviously, the suggestions fell flat as producers must have thought the movie was “Pure Country” after all.
Also, Strait had said that he feared starring in a movie would hinder his career as a recording artist. However, this was clearly not the case since Strait has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all-time.
It would be the last time fans see Strait playing anything but himself.
‘Pure Country’ Grows, Criticism
After Strait starred in the role, the title of “Pure Country” became a franchise of sorts.
It was followed by 2010’s “Pure Country: The Gift” and then “Pure Country: Pure Heart” with Willie Nelson.
Some of the popular songs from the original film are “Heartland” and “I Cross My Heart.”
Despite having more movies made, the film was criticized as being full of plot holes and poorly put together. A critic from the Chicago Tribune said that the film was “pure twaddle” and that it was “shamelessly cornball and hackneyed, as phony as the road-show act that Strait’s character has come to deplore.”
All of the new movies focus on completely different storylines. The only reason that they have the same name is that they are based around new music. For example, “Pure Country: Pure Heart” is about two sisters who go to Nashville to learn about their songwriter father who passed away. The film had newer music like “Dream Big” in it.
For Strait, his venture into film was short-lived, but his country career continues to mark him as the “King of Country.”