It’s easy to hear a Carrie Underwood song and let the vivid lyrics conjure up images of window-smashing redemption, whirling tornados and mischievous, murderous plots. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer certainly did, as he’ll be turning her hit “Two Black Cadillacs” into an upcoming miniseries for Fox. The tale of two double-timed women determined to make their philandering man pay for his deceits is perfect fodder for film, but it’s not alone: So many of the Storyteller‘s tracks are tailor-made for the big screen. We imagine 10 more Underwood songs that could translate easily into cinematic gold, from slapstick comedies to romantic weepers – and do the dream casting, too.
It's one thing to elope to Las Vegas on a whim with a longtime lover – it's another thing altogether to down a drink (or 10), grab a stranger and get hitched, without ever even finding out their last name. While that may not sound like the good-girl behavior of happily married Underwood, she wails this tale of unholy matrimony to life. Imagine the Carnival Ride hit, which she co-wrote with Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird, as a classic Sin City comedy of errors: What happens after the nuptials? A cameo from Mike Tyson's tiger, perhaps?
Suggested actors: Anna Farris as the drunken bride, Jason Segel as the groom – and throw in an appearance from Bill Murray in an Elvis getup for good measure
The title track from Underwood's fourth album is fodder for a surefire thriller. . . The lyrics themselves talk of a woman who hides in the cellar while a deadly tornado catches her "mean old mister" father upstairs on the couch. But, like so many Carrie classics, there's so much story behind the song: Imagine a dark whodunit where we learn just exactly what made daddy so deadly, played adeptly by an actor capable of subtle, sinister touches. A wicked, CGI twister would help, too.
Suggested actors: Woody Harrelson as the father, Chloe Moretz as the daughter
This Carnival Ride track pulls the classic Underwood bait-and-switch: We think the young woman she's singing about is heading to her wedding, decked out in her beautiful, ivory-white dress and clutching a bouquet of flowers. But, it turns out, she's actually on her way to the funeral of the husband she'll never get to spend her life with – the trumpets of a military band signaling that he was a soldier killed in action. It lends itself well to a drama that explores what happens when we lose something we barely got a chance to have.
Suggested actors: Shailene Woodley as the young woman, Liam Hemsworth as her lost lover
Leave it to Underwood to tell a story where a Louisville Slugger is as important of a character as a cheating, no-good boyfriend. This Grammy-winning track from Some Hearts could be a twisted comedy where a maligned woman seeks revenge on her philandering mister – and putting that baseball bat through both headlights might be just the beginning. This one is prime for an actress who can really take the scheming into deep, dark territory.
Suggested actors: Jenny Slate could take payback to the extreme, making sure Zac Efron suffers in every way possible for treating her wrong
"Run, run away, don't let him mess with your mind, He'll tell you anything you wanna hear," warns Underwood on this hit from Play On. But what transpires when you don't heed the warning, and run away with that "devil in disguise": the one with the bad pickup lines and the sharp cheekbones? It's perfect material for a tale that ends with the woman realizing it's not the bad boy she should chase – it's her trusty best friend wingman who's been there all along.
Suggested actor: Emma Stone as the main character, Adam Brody as the best friend and Ian Somerhalder as the no-good Casanova
Underwood's songs are often able to paint a picture so visceral they would be tough to listen to if it weren’t for her golden pipes, with this one she co-wrote with Chris DeStefano and Hillary Lindsey topping the list as one of the most devastating. It tells the story of a young girl, hidden away behind the coats in her closet, trying to drown out her parents' violent dispute. To cope, she imagines that the insults they lob at each other are simply like little toy guns: without wounds, without harm. Alfonso Cuarón could create a film that blended reality with youthful fantasy, asking the cogent question of what hurts more: sticks and stones, or the words that make us throw them?
Suggested actors: Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka as the daughter, Kyle Chandler as the father and Naomi Watts as the mother
This Blown Away ballad about coping with the passing of a loved one could have been a soundtrack to the pottery wheel scene in Ghost – except maybe a little less messy. Imagine it reinvented into a modern love story down the Nicholas Sparks road, where a lonely, tragedy-stricken wife searches for the spirit of her dearly departed. "This is not where it ends," Underwood sings – and maybe she's right. But is the one she lost hiding in heaven, or inside that scruffy dude at the coffee shop who mysteriously knows her favorite movies?
Suggested actors: Jennifer Garner as the widow, Paul Rudd as her new love interest
It's blockbuster territory when a character returns to the small hometown they left long ago, after letting the childhood memories and high school soda shops fade into the twilight. This Blown Away track by Hillary Lindsey, Ashley Gorley and Luke Laird screams Reese Witherspoon-style Sweet Home Alabama redux, when the narrator revisits her old stomping grounds for a cousin's wedding. Somehow, old boyfriends always look better with age – but, unfortunately, so does the old prom queen.
Suggested actors: Blake Lively as the narrator, Chris Hemsworth as the tractor-riding first-love, Mila Kunis as the high school nemesis
Written by Underwood with Ashley Gorley and Kelley Lovelace, this twanger manages to span generations in under four minutes: First up is a father, fantasizing about having a son only to fall in love with his little girl who has him "wrapped around his finger." Then we see the girl, at 16, luring her football star boyfriend away from the field. They eventually get married, and she gives birth to another "all-American girl" who makes her daddy putty in her hands. Like Boyhood, we could see this play out in a film that unfolds over many years, tracing the story from the delivery room through college and back again, showing the perfectly imperfect circle of southern life.
Suggested actors: Elle Fanning as the young All-American Girl, but maybe Underwood herself could play the woman when she's grown: She did admit that the song is somewhat autobiographical, after all.
Underwood's first hit is guaranteed to be a feel-good Hallmark weeper. It might start on that "Friday on her way to Cincinnati, on a snow white Christmas Eve," when a heavenly force intervenes in what could have been a disastrous car accident, but what happened before – and after – the narrator sees her life flash before her eyes? What changes would she make to protect that sleeping little baby in the backseat? What risks might she take?
Suggested actor: Kerry Washington could tackle the role that juggles faith and free will