Dolly Parton Reveals Who She Would Want to Play Her in a Biopic

by Suzanne Halliburton
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW

Dolly Parton knows exactly which actress she’d like to play her if her life becomes a biopic.

And if you’ve paid attention to Dolly, you probably know that she prefers a woman with a huge voice who grew up in Broken Arrow, Okla.

That would be Kristin Chenoweth, the Tony Award winner who already has performed with Parton several times. Chenoweth even refers to Dolly as “my queen.”

Parton brought up Chenoweth during an interview with Mr. Nashville Talks.

“We were talking about doing my Broadway musical,” Parton said. “And we were really, really far out ahead of that … then Covid hit and that changed my mind about a whole lot of things.

“I do intend someday to be on Broadway,” Parton said. “But I’m thinking now that I might do my life story as a feature. Maybe possibly even a musical feature, so we’re in talks about that.”

Who would play her? “I love Kristin Chenoweth,” she said. “She’s just absolutely fantastic.”

Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association

But Dolly Parton said other actresses could play her in the biopic. That’s because if it’s a true-life story, she’d need a young actress to play her growing up as one of 12 kids on a farm in rural Tennessee. Then she’d need a young adult version of herself. Chenoweth is 53. Presumably, a makeup artist can age her to look like Dolly perfection at age 76.

“We’d probably have to have — as long as my career has been — like a little Dolly, and a middle Dolly and then the older one,” Parton said.

Chenoweth is very public with her adoration of Parton. “If I could play anyone’s life, it would be Dolly’s,” Chenoweth said. “Maybe Broadway. I hope she does. I hope she thinks of me.”

Chenoweth asked Parton to sing a duet with her for Chenoweth’s 2016 album “For the Girls.” The two sang the Dolly classic “I Will Always Love You.” The two needed to do some long-distance recording because Parton was out on tour.

“I was nervous for her to hear me sing it first, because it’s her song,” Chenoweth told the site PureWow. “But Dolly said, ‘Man, I love this one lick you’re doing. Now I’m gonna try something else.’ I just thought ‘she’s still singing her song differently. It’s another lesson that you learn from the women that come before you.”

Parton is really busy these days. She was in Austin last week for the South By Southwest Festival. But she wasn’t there only to sing. Rather, she also was there to promote her new novel “Run, Rose, Run,” with author James Patterson. Of course, she wrote what she knows. The story is about an aspiring country singer who is keeping a secret. The book was released earlier this month.

But if you’d like a taste — make that a sound — of what Parton and Chenoweth sound like together, listen to their recording of the Dolly classic.