Premiere, November 2001
His Achy Breaky Part

Singer Billy Ray Cyrus takes a ride in Mulholland Drive.

mdpremiere3.jpgTHAT MULLET, THAT LINE dancing ... that eye-opening role in one of the season's most shocking films? Country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus, who skyrocketed to fame in 1992 with the novelty hit "Achy Breaky Heart"and then disappeared from the charts just as fast, is getting his big breaky in the unlikeliest of places: the new David Lynch film, Mulholland Drive. Even the country boy himself knows he's a little out of place.

"I guarantee you, I'm the only guy ever to go read for a David Lynch movie with two stolen chickens sitting in his agent's Porsche," the 40-year-old Cyrus says. After playing hero to his kids by saving the birds from imminent death at a zoo, Cyrus landed the role of Gene, a home-wrecking pool cleaner. The film is no star vehicle for Cyrus, but he holds his own among an apt ensemble and neo-noir master Lynch.

"I was expecting this really strange man to come out in a black cape or something," he says of the director. But, in fact, Lynch ended up being quite the cheerleader, encouraging the singer-who had previously turned down roles in The Apostle and Hope Floats-to seriously pursue acting. Now Cyrus is keeping busy with his new PAX TV show, Doc, and he's already learned a major secret of Hollywood success. "For the Lynch movie, I wanted an acting coach, but they said they wanted me to be myself Same thing for the TV show," he says. "That's probably all I can really do. So far I've just kind of played myself." Some- times that's all ittakes.
-Kevin Polowy

© 2001 Hachette Filipacchi Magazines Inc.

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