By Anne M. Raso
We recently caught up with Dolly Parton who portrays “gorgeous grandma” G.G. Sparrow in the feel good family flick Joyful Noise being released by Warner Brothers on January 13th. G.G. loses her choir conductor husband Bernard (portrayed by Kris Kristofferson) at the beginning of the film and the dynamic duo does a romantic duet in a dream-like sequence in the film when G.G. is missing her late husband–rumors abound that the song will be released as a single from the movie soundtrack.
About the casting of Kristofferson, Dolly confesses to us that Kenny Rogers was actually director Todd Graff’s first choice: “It would have taken the movie in a whole different direction if Kenny played my husband. It would have too Dolly Partonish. (Laughs.) That would have taken the movie in a whole ‘nother place. Kris and I have known each other since when we were both songwriters for Combine Music around 1964 or 1965 in Nashville and my husband and I have socialized with Kris and his wife over the years. We have recorded together in the past with Willie Nelson. I love him dearly and thought it was perfect casting to put us together.”
Why did Dolly wait so long to take another movie role? “There were just no good scripts in all this time. It has been all junk coming my way in the past 18 or 19 years since I did Straight Talk. They could not really put me in the ‘older woman’ roles in that time I was too old to play the younger parts. (In Joyful Noise), I play a grandma who is young at heart and young in spirit. I thought this character was all the things I am–I have a big heart, big hope and big hair. I read the script. I said that I can’t let someone play a character so much like me–it would be like letting someone rip me off! (Laughs.)” She adds, “I have been a lot in the past 20 years. I have been doing Dollywood and touring. People think you haven’t done anything since you were not on the big screen in such a long period of time.”
She is thrilled about the release of Joyful Noise–the only thing is she was panicked about during the film was the dancing sequences: “I was like, ‘Lord, let my feet go where they are supposed to go.’ I dance like a real hillbilly and I clap on the off beat!” The buxom legend continues with a tap of her long red nails on a conference table during the movie’s press day at the Regency Hotel, “I think this movie will appeal to all kinds of people. It has the perfect name. We did make a joyful noise and have a joyful time! And Dana (co-star Queen Latifah) and I have have grown close and find things we admire in each other everyday. We also gave each other the space we needed on the set. We enjoy doing the interviews for the film together.”
As for looking so great at her age, she says with a laugh, “I see to it that I don’t age–and I know all the tricks!”
(Photos courtesy Warner Brothers Pictures.)