Dolly Parton describes her latest movie, Christmas of Many Colors, and shares some of her family's most treasured holiday traditions.
- Posted on Nov 30, 2016
Dolly Parton is bringing her award-winning singing, acting and producing talents to the screen in NBC’s Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, the real-life inspirational story about her early years growing up with 11 brothers and sisters in a small cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The TV movie is a follow-up to last year's holiday hit, Coat of Many Colors, another film dedicated to showing the origins of one of country music's biggest icons.
Dolly took a break from her award-winning “Pure & Simple” tour to talk with Guideposts about the movie, her favorite Christmas traditions, and how she keeps such a youthful spirit.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
GUIDEPOSTS: Hi, Dolly! What a joy to talk to our three-time covergirl about her latest acting project. What does the "Circle of Love” represent in the title of your movie?
DOLLY PARTON: It represents several things. Part of the story is about the year we all made money to buy mama a wedding ring. Mom and Daddy get wedding bands so that little circle was kind of that, the circle of love, the circle of family. And also in my mind, it represents the Christmas spirit and the Christmas story of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. So to me it’s the circle within the circle.
GUIDEPOSTS: You play “the Painted Lady” character in the movie. What’s her role in your story?
DP: When I was a little girl, the same age as little Dolly in the movie, there was a lady in our hometown that we called the "Painted Lady," she was kind of the town trollop. But I thought she was beautiful because she was radiant and colorful; all makeup, hair and jewelry, fancy clothes. I kind of patterned my look after her after I grew up. So we thought how fun for me to play a small part in the movie and show little Dolly meeting her for the first time. Who better than me to play the Painted Lady? [Laughs]
GUIDEPOSTS: What songs will you sing in the movie?
DP: “Go Tell It on the Mountain” has always been one of my very favorite Christmas songs and that’s the song that little Dolly is singing when my Uncle Bill, one of my mom’s brothers, actually takes notice of me and sees that I’m serious about my music, that I have maybe some little star qualities of a sort. He kind of helps push that along. I’ve always liked that particular song because it’s very upbeat. And, of course, it tells the Christmas story. It’s a fun, playful song to sing. I have four different songs in the movie. And I sing with a choir at the end of the movie. I’ve always wanted to have a traditional Christmas movie that they’d show year in and year out for many years to come, and and I believe we might have captured that in this year’s Circle of Love and (last year’s) Coat of Many Colors.
GUIDEPOSTS: Some folks might judge the "Painted Lady,” but you wouldn’t…
DP: I personally believe that a good Christian should not judge. I mean that’s God’s business, not yours. I believe we’re all God’s children and everybody has to deal with God in their own way. They’re responsible for their own selves before God, and we’re supposed to love one another. The Bible says that all the way through. I’m certainly not God, and I’m no judge. I just try to find God’s light in everybody and I know that He is in all of us. Accept people for who and what they are.
GUIDEPOSTS: Why are so many people these days looking for positive, inspiring entertainment?
DP: The world is in kind of a dark spot right now, just a lot of negative stuff, just people banging on one another, talking so bad. I just think people are looking for something more uplifting. I think people are kind of missing those family shows, faith-based shows. I think the fact that there’s little children in the movie, kids can enjoy the show. We’ve kind of strayed a bit with all the technology. [Kids are] all doing things with their phones, their games, video games, the different technologies the kids are into so I think it brings the family back into focus just a little bit. Hopefully that’s a good thing, and the message is good. There’s a lot of fun and a lot of emotion and a lot of depth to this movie. And it also celebrates Christ, the spirit of Christmas, which we often forget.
GUIDEPOSTS: What are some of your family’s favorite Christmas traditions?
DP: I have Aunt Granny Cooking Night. All my nieces and nephews used to call me Aunt Granny, now all my little grand nieces and nephews call me “GG" which stands for Great Granny. Now it’s GG Cooking Night. I always try to have a night with the kids; we make pizza, have presents, and ride around on the golf cart and freeze our butts off and have fun.
GUIDEPOSTS: At 70, you have the energy of folks half your age. What’s your secret?
DP: I love what I do and I enjoy my work. I love kids, and I try to keep a youthful spirit for their sake. And I’m a little person in stature so I think sometimes I seem more like a kid than I do a grown up and that’s kind of how I think.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love airs on NBC on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 9-11 pm ET/PT.