MARTIN, Tenn. – Dr. Julie Floyd has always been professional and conservative. She has been instructing nursing courses at the University of Tennessee at Martin since 1998. She has taught courses on health assessment, issues in nursing and mental health nursing and trends. Her length of tenure and her course load both suggest professional and conservative.
When a good friend of Floyd’s called and urged her to send her bio and picture to “Nashville,” the television show, because the show was looking for professional and conservative nurse extras, she promptly did so.
Floyd was out of her office during spring break and missed a call from the show’s casting director.
“Fortunately the casting director called back on a Friday in June to see if I would play a “real nurse” on the show. The caller said he would send me an email on Monday with the details, what to wear and what time to be there.”
Floyd left Weakley County for Nashville about 4:30 in the morning on Tuesday, July 23, for her casting call. “There was no need to set an alarm for 4:30 because I was up most of the night filled with anticipation and excitement,” she said.
She arrived at one of at Vanderbilt’s central parking garage, about 7:50 a.m., and followed the signs. She didn’t have to wait too long and a van pulled up. She climbed in and introduced herself to Justin who drove her to “base camp” where all the actors’ trailers, wardrobe, make-up, etc. are located. “I was excited,” Floyd said. “I felt like I was on the set of a movie. I was close – I was on the set of ‘Nashville.’”
Once at base camp, a large parking lot with one security guard at the helm, Floyd was instructed to fill out an I-9 tax form since she was getting paid for her efforts and time.
“Of course, the money wasn’t the issue – I mean I would have done it for free to get a glimpse of Deacon – who incidentally is not as attractive as my husband.”
After Floyd filled out the appropriate paper work, Justin instructed her to go sit on the back of the wardrobe trailer and wait. “Justin looks like he needs a cup, no a gallon of coffee … make that espresso.”
As she sat in wardrobe waiting, Floyd sees Peggy, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Brad’s wife, and Rayna, Connie Britton. Both actresses were nice and smiled and waved at Floyd, who had already been instructed not to approach the celebrities or take pictures of them. Floyd also met a belly double or a stand in and another extra.
Not long after Britton entered the lot, the wardrobe lady came out and gave Floyd and others instructions. “She told us to go change in the bathroom and let her know so she can approve,” Floyd said. “Scrubs for me, street clothes for the man visitor and a hospital gown for the belly double.”
Floyd and the others were then chauffeured, in a van, to the set at Vanderbilt hospital. “They pull me outside on the rooftop overlooking the city, including the Batman Building (AT&T Building),” Floyd said. “Another nurse from the Vanderbilt ER joins me and we are instructed to sit on a bench.”
For more than an hour the crew worked on setting the scene for Rayna and Lamar (Rayna’s father). “It was blazing hot, so much for make-up and hair,” Floyd said.
All of a sudden the noise grew louder. The crew started talking on their radios. Floyd heard, “they are on their way.” Once every one was in place, the actors were on the rooftop for more than an hour doing a 30-second shoot. “All the lighting, all the extras … for a few seconds of the show,” Floyd said. “You may catch a glimpse of the back of my head for this scene.”
Floyd said she was able to watch a scene with Rayna on life-support while Teddy (her husband) and Lamas discussed her prognosis. “The extras were told to walk up and down the hall like we were patients and nurses in the hospital. We stayed on this scene for hours and finally we were told we could eat,” Floyd said. “We got to eat what they called lunch at 5:30 p.m.”
The last scene of the day involved Juliette, Teddy and Rayna’s older daughter in the lobby of the hospital. “Again, the extras were walking in the background. “I was able to leave around 11 p.m.”
Floyd said she had fun, but it was an exhausting day. Her only regret or disappointment was Deacon was not in any of the scenes they filmed.
“I realize this opportunity was something I will only do once in a lifetime,” she said. “This day was only eight minutes of the first episode for the season. It made me realize how grateful I am to be a real nurse and not a Hollywood extra.”
The season premier of “Nashville” is Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 8 p.m. on ABC (WBBJ-Jackson).
By the way, Floyd’s birthday is Wednesday, Sept. 25. “There is no greater blessing than to be able to truly care for people and not just entertain them,” she said.