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Rose Byrne is detailing what it was like getting Dolly Parton’s blessing for Seriously Red and transforming into her Elvis Presley.
In an interview with Collider, published online Saturday, the Insidious star said she drove from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee to meet with the singer’s longtime manager, Danny Nozell, because “we knew without Dolly there was just no way we could do it [the film].”
“We had to try to get this script in [to] her, and to get her blessing, and to see if she could help us get the music,” she said. “If we didn’t have the music, it would’ve been very different. I don’t know what the movie would’ve become, but it certainly wouldn’t have been a Dolly Parton impersonator.”
Byrne said Nozell, who was a champion of the film, got it to Parton. “Within a few weeks, she said, ‘Yeah, I really love it. I’m inspired by it. You have my blessing,’” she added. “It was incredible.”
The film, directed by Gracie Otto, dives into the world of tribute performers. It follows a realtor, Red, played by Krew Boylan, who also wrote the script, as she pursues her dreams of becoming a Dolly Parton impersonator. Along the way, her act draws the attention of an Elvis Presley impersonator, played by Byrne.
When it came to getting into character, the Bridesmaids actress said she worked with a hair, makeup and costume team that had previously worked on The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Two Hands, to create her version of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. “It was more of an early-looking Elvis, and really working on contour, shadow, skin, really focusing on that,” she explained. “Trying to get the wig right, the sideburns, the eyebrows, how much, how too little. Then, for me, figuring out the mouth, the vocal work, and the way his face is a little different around the cheek than mine.”
The Neighbors actress said the film was important to her because it brings up “the idea of identity, this subculture of tribute performers, and how far do you go to be taken seriously?” She added that it’s also a “joyful celebration of Dolly Parton and her legacy and her music, and her iconography, and all of those iconic American pop figures and cultural figures, and internationally too.”
Bryne, who starred in the 2010 Insidious and reprised her role in three other installments in the franchise, including the upcoming Insidious: Fear the Dark, said that is it “really delightful” to hear how well the films are doing.
“I get little tidbits now and again about how it’s, particularly the first one, how it’s become more of a cult hit than I knew,” she said, explaining that they shot the first film in 22 days.
As for future Insidious films, Bryne said, “there’s always room for anything,” but that it would be a question for herself, Ty Simpkins and director Patrick Wilson regarding if they “wanted to delve into it again.”
“It had this built-in audience for now over a decade,” she continued, talking about the upcoming movie. “So, that’s interesting to then revisit this origin story, like we were saying, and really give the fans what they want.”
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