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NBC has found the inspiration for its next TV movie based on Dolly Parton‘s life: her 1973 hit song “Jolene.”
The project, which will be written by John Sacret Young (The West Wing, China Beach), marks NBC’s second collaboration with the country singer as part of the peacock’s deal with her. Under the pact, NBC is making a series of two-hour TV movies based on the entertainer’s songs and stories.
Executive producer Sam Haskell confirmed the news Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We are very excited to let you know that the next one will be ‘Jolene,’ ” he said. “[John] has come up with an incredible story that Dolly just loves.” The song tells the story of a woman who tries to steal away another woman’s man and was inspired by the time a bank teller flirted with Parton’s husband when they were newly married.
The first installment in the series of movies, Coat of Many Colors — named for Parton’s 1971 tune that Haskell calls “her signature” — premieres in December. Starring 8-year-old Alyvia Alyn Lind as a young Parton, the movie follows the country icon’s upbringing by exploring her family and its struggle to overcome devastating tragedy and discover the healing power of love and faith via a raggedy patchwork coat that helped make the singer-actress whom she is today.
Set in the Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains in 1955, Coat is intended to be a family-oriented, faith-based story about the incidents in Parton and her family’s life around the time she was 9 years old. Jennifer Nettles stars as Parton’s mom, and Ricky Schroder plays her dad. “It’s about bringing the family to the television set,” Haskell acknowledged onstage. “This is the kind of event that will bring people together.”
Parton, who is executive producing the project, emphasized the theme of family. “This little story encompasses so many things — it’s an attitude. It’s more than a song. It’s just about so much that we’ve lost so much of these days: bringing families together,” she said, adding: “I’m hoping that during the holiday season, this can be my great gift to the public.”
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