A decade ago, Maggie McClure got a sort of cinematic wakeup call.
"Writer-director Timothy Armstrong licensed my song 'Good Morning and Good Night' in the opening credits of his which was also filmed here in Oklahoma. He lives in Los Angeles, and when we moved out there in 2011, we became pretty close with Tim and his family. He started asking us to be involved with his projects," McClure said.
"It's been such an incredible opportunity ... and this is definitely a very full-circle moment."
Last spring, Armstrong brought his family-friendly franchise back to Oklahoma to make with McClure and fellow Oklahoma musician Shane Henry — her husband and partner in the — writing and producing the 11-song soundtrack, co-producing the movie and playing supporting roles in the musical drama.
"We've definitely gotten more involved with each film that he invited us to be a part of," McClure said. "We've really been involved with this project from the ground up, and I've learned so much. ... Being film producers, it's been a lot of work, but very rewarding."
Samuel Goldwyn Films is releasing "A Cowgirl's Song" in theaters and digitally April 22, and The Imaginaries are celebrating by performing "A Cowgirls Song in Concert" April 22 at the Tower Theatre.
The concert also will feature who makes her feature film debut in "A Cowgirl's Song."
"Growing up, I was like, 'Hollywood is where it's at, and L.A., that's where the big movies get made.' ... But now all of these amazing films are being filmed here," shortly after she filmed a role in another Sooner State-made movie, the
"It was very near and dear to my heart to have my very first movie filmed here because it's something I was nervous for. But it just made the overall experience way more comfortable and easygoing and fun because the crew was a lot of Oklahoma-based people. So, it's kind of like my people that I got to work with, so that's been really special. And I hope to see more films coming here."
A musical coming-of-age story, "A Cowgirl's Song" centers on Hailey Mays (Savannah Lee May), an Oklahoma teenager who longs to become a country music star like her grandma but suffers from stage fright. Her sister, Brooke (Darci Lynne), used to be a barrel racer with big rodeo dreams but gave them up after she was injured in a car accident. Their once-famous grandma, Erin Mays (Cheryl Ladd), has declined to perform since her beloved husband was killed in that same accident.
When the girls' dad, Dean (Jason Alan Smith), naively tries to help a pal and gets in trouble with the law, Hailey, Brooke and Erin must put aside their fears if they're going to help him get out of jail.
Filmed in and around Chickasha, the movie also features an appearance by real-life barrel racer Amberley Snyder, who figured out how to get back on her horse — literally — after a car wreck left her paralyzed from the waist down. Along with celebrating the movie's release, the April 22 concert will benefit the .
Although she is best known for her acting roles on the television shows "Charlie's Angels" and, more recently, "American Crime Story," .
Her first TV role was supplying the singing voice of Melody on the 1970s animated series "Josie and the Pussycats" — she was credited as Cherie Moor on the cartoon — so her vocal chops in "A Cowgirl's Song" are for real, McClure said.
"Cheryl Ladd is one of the sweetest people that we've ever met. She's beautiful inside and out. ... With all of her years of experience, she knows so much. There's one part in the movie where I have to fall, and she taught me how to fall properly. I was like, 'I can't believe this is happening,'" . "We had her over at our home studio to record vocals for the movie, and she is an incredible singer. ... It's been such an honor to get to work with her and get to know her."
have appeared together and separately in multiple films, TV shows and commercials, often as the musicians that they are. But the real-life couple, who moved back to Oklahoma in 2018, took on their biggest roles to date in "A Cowgirl's Song," in which they play love interests.
McClure plays Maddie, a restaurant manager and songwriter who mentors Hailey, and Henry co-stars as Colin, a paramedic who tends to Maddie when she faints during a lupus flare-up. He takes an immediate shine to her, although Maddie is hesitant to return his affections.
"It was pretty funny because she's rejecting me the whole time in the movie — and then she finally stopped rejecting me. I'm like, 'Hey, there's a little correlation. This is real life here,'" Henry teased his wife.
"It was just jump in there and go and do your best. I knew that it was my first time really acting and I'll improve. But it was fun. It's a totally different artistic outlet — and it's challenging."
"We had so many responsibilities," McClure added, noting that they were able to lean on the . "There just wasn't time to overthink anything."
since Armstrong lensed “Cowgirls N' Angels" in 2011 in Stillwater, Guthrie, Oklahoma City and Pawnee.
The writer-director took the franchise elsewhere for its next two installments: He made the 2014 sequel "Cowgirls N' Angels: Dakota's Summer" in Louisiana and the 2017 spin-off "A Cowgirl's Story" in California. that he was excited to return to the Sooner State to make the fourth installment.
But the growth in the industry presented some pitfalls for the independent film.
"We definitely utilized as much Oklahoma crew as we possibly could. I think one area that we discovered was a little bit of a hindrance was that there were other projects being filmed at the same time as ours. So, a lot of people were already working. Because of our timeline ... we had to outsource to Texas for a few crew and cast. Also, a few people from L.A. did have to come in," McClure said.
"Right now for the film industry, I think the more crew that we can get ready to work, the better it's going to be for everyone because the goal is to have lots of projects going on at once all the time. So, I think that was something that was a little surprising to us."
"A Cowgirl's Song" was in production last year when the state Legislature passed with a larger annual cap, which the couple hopes will help other moviemakers avoid the situation they encountered with the outgoing Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.
"That was one of the strong reasons that Tim wanted to come to Oklahoma to film, and we followed those guidelines to a tee and even filmed in a small community. And we did not get rewarded the film rebate at all for this film, which was a huge blow to to our budget," Henry said. "It was disappointing because we're Oklahomans bringing a film to Oklahoma."
Fortunately, the Chickasha community rallied around the project.