For weeks and months we’ve been teased little snippets of information regarding the two TV movies Dolly Parton is producing about her life, and as of yesterday (August 18) we finally know when we’re going to be able to see the first one.
The film, ‘Coat of Many Colors’, is designed to showcase the life of Parton circa 1955, living in the Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee with her parents and 11 siblings. Tackling the story of her famous song with which the movie shares its name, 9-year-old Dolly’s huge ambitions, and the death of her brother Larry, it’s set to be an emotional but heart-warming tale centered around faith and family. It’s also expected to depict their extreme poverty, lack of running water, and zero electricity. A production of Magnolia Hill Entertainment and DP Productions in association with Warner Bros Television, the 2-hour film is due to air on NBC on December 10 at 9pm ET/PT.
Recently casting news has been making the headlines. Young actress Alyvia Alyn Lind (A Deadly Adoption, Masters of Sex, Transparent) is due to play Parton herself in the film, while Jennifer Nettles (country artist, known for her work with Sugarland) has been announced as Avie Lee Parton, Dolly’s mother. Nettles recently made her acting debut as Roxy Hart in the Broadway adaptation of Chicago. Gerald McRaney (Deadwood, Southland, House of Cards, Longmire) has also been cast as Grandpa Jake Owens, while Ricky Schroder (The Champ, NYPD Blue, 24) will portray Dolly’s father, Robert Lee Parton.
The second movie, which is expected some time in 2016, will be titled ‘Jolene’, after another of Parton’s most famous songs, although no word on exactly what the plot will contain.
Production for ‘Coat of Many Colors’ begins this week in Atlanta, and the buzz around the film has dramatically increased interest in the Parton family as a whole. While father died in 2000 and mother died in 2003, siblings Willadeene (75), David (73), Denver (72), Bobby (67), Stella (66), Cassie (64), Randy (62), Floyd (58), Freida (58), and Rachel (56) are involved in the project to varying degrees, even just to provide inspiration for their characters. Of course, Floyd, Freida and Rachel will not appear in the film due to the fact they weren’t born at the time it is set, but perhaps there is scope for a follow-up of Dolly as a teeanger, given that her career was beginning to take flight at that point. Some of Dolly’s siblings went into the music industry, most prominently Stella (with whom she has a strained relationship), but the majority of them have lived out ‘ordinary’ lifestyles back in East Tennessee.