How Dolly Parton Convinced Filmmakers to Move an Entire Set for Her Cameo in Hulu Series

by Emily Morgan

Dolly Parton is a busy gal. From being the universally loved queen of country to running her own empire to working on her Imagination Library, she’s got a packed schedule. So when TV showrunners came to the country music superstar about making a cameo, they had to go to her.

While you wouldn’t expect Parton to have a role in the Hulu sci-fi series, “The Orville: New Horizons,” she sure does. She played herself in the recent episode of Season 3 titled “Midnight Blue.” But it was somewhat easier said than done. As it turns out, they had to move the set across the country for Parton to take on the gig.

During a recent interview, Jon Cassar, who helmed the episode “Midnight Blue,” opened up about getting to work with the “9 to 5” singer.

“It was just an absolute honor and a pleasure,” he said about his experience with the country queen but added that it took a lot of work. At the time of the shooting, COVID-19 was on the rise, and Parton didn’t want to travel.

“It was a very complicated thing to do because she wanted to do it, but there was no way she was getting on a plane then. She said, ‘Look, I’ve got my own studios. So I’d like you to go to my studios with my people. They’re all tested.’ So were ours, but that was how she would do it. She wouldn’t do it any other way.”

Hulu show makes cross-country trek for Dolly Parton

According to the director, they finally made it work after some negotiations.

“The only way to do it was virtually to build a set in LA, light the set, rehearse all the shots with doubles, and virtually cut the set in half and send half of the set to Nashville by truck. Then we flew in.”

As it turned out, showrunners moved a set from Los Angeles to Nashville so that Parton could make a cameo in the show. Although the crew had to make the cross-country trek, working with the icon proved to be worth it.

Cassar gushed: “She was just fantastic. She knew her lines. There was a teleprompter there, and she didn’t need it. She had it down; she was just a real pleasure to work with, and all smiles the whole day. It was just a win-win all around.”

As the show gets ready to wrap up Season 3, fans are eager to know if Hulu will give it the green light for Season 4.

Fans can watch Dolly Parton make her sci-fi debut in the series right now by streaming Season 3 on Hulu. The first two seasons are also available. The series will also arrive on Disney+ on August 10th.