Dolly Parton builds on film successes with ‘Dumplin’’ song

Parton was a long-established country superstar and had crossed over to the pop charts with the 1977 smash “Here You Come Again” when Hollywood called. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
0

Dolly Parton builds on film successes with ‘Dumplin’’ song

  • Co-written with hit machine Linda Perry, the song expresses the rebellious, plus-sized title character’s secret longing to fit in, to have happy Hollywood endings
  • While Parton said she could relate to many elements of the song’s lyrics, “I never had a dream of being on the screen. I figured I’d grow into that, and I did. But my music was most important”

LOS ANGELES: Dolly Parton says she never really aspired to be “The Girl in the Movies,” the title of her Golden Globe-nominated song from the new dramedy “Dumplin’.”
Co-written with hit machine Linda Perry, the song expresses the rebellious, plus-sized title character’s secret longing to fit in, to have happy Hollywood endings — just like “the girl in the movies.”
While Parton said she could relate to many elements of the song’s lyrics, “I never had a dream of being on the screen. I figured I’d grow into that, and I did. But my music was most important.”
Parton was a long-established country superstar and had crossed over to the pop charts with the 1977 smash “Here You Come Again” when Hollywood called.
“I had been approached about acting in some things, but I wasn’t quite ready,” she recalled. “Then Jane (Fonda) came to me and said that they want to do this movie with me and Lily (Tomlin), and I thought, ‘Well, this is the perfect time, if I’m ever going to do it, because if it was a hit, we could all take credit. But if it was a flop, I could blame it on them,’” Parton explained, with a laugh.
The film, the searing workplace comedy “9 to 5,” became the No. 2 box-office film released in 1980 behind only “The Empire Strikes Back,” according to Box Office Mojo. “9 to 5” also inspired Parton’s only solo pop-chart topper, a TV series and a Broadway musical. The title song earned Parton an Oscar nomination and Parton’s new compositions for the stage musical were honored with a Tony nomination.
Parton, 72, went on to score a handful of other box-office successes as an actress, including the screen adaptations of the stage hits “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (1982) and “Steel Magnolias” (1989). And she provided her voice to the 2011 animated blockbuster “Gnomeo and Juliet.”
But it’s as a songwriter where Parton has perhaps scored biggest on film, with Whitney Houston’s explosive cover of Parton’s plaintive ballad “I Will Always Love You” from 1992’s “The Bodyguard” becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.
“People always tell me, ‘I thought that was Whitney’s song. I didn’t know you wrote it. I thought she wrote it,’” Parton said, with a smile, adding, “And I tell them, ‘She can have the credit. I’ll just take the cash.’“
The song “9 to 5” has been a gift that keeps on giving for Parton, too. Parton’s original recording accompanied a back-to-work montage in this spring’s “Deadpool 2.”
“My nieces and nephews didn’t even think of me as being a star until they heard my song in that movie,” Parton commented. “I was touched by that. The kids got a kick out if it.”
Like the song, the nearly 40-year-old “9 to 5” movie continues to resonate with contemporary audiences — and little wonder since it tackles pay-parity issues, as well as sexual harassment.
Cue the sequel.
“Pat Resnick (who co-wrote the original film) and (actress-director) Rashida Jones are working on a new script,” Parton said. “Fox already bought it. Jane, Lily and I said, ‘Yes, we would do it,’ and there will be three new girls in it, too. Forty years later, it’s still addressing a lot of those issues we had back then.”
Parton said plans are to shoot the film next year. “Dumplin’” opens in select cinemas and debuts on Netflix this weekend. The 76th annual Golden Globe Awards will be presented Jan. 6 in Beverly Hills.
The Recording Academy will honor Parton for her musical and philanthropic work as 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year on Feb. 8, two days before the 61st Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.


Tens of thousands converge on California ‘poppy apocalypse’

A woman poses for a photo among poppies in bloom on the hills of Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, California, on March 8, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 19 March 2019
0

Tens of thousands converge on California ‘poppy apocalypse’

  • More than 6,000 people on a recent Saturday stopped at the visitor’s center at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

LAKE ELSINORE, California: Like Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz,” the Southern California city of Lake Elsinore is being overwhelmed by the power of the poppies.
About 150,000 people over the weekend flocked to see this year’s rain-fed flaming orange patches of poppies lighting up the hillsides near the city of about 60,000 residents, about a 90-minute drive from either San Diego or Los Angeles.
Interstate 15 was a parking lot. People fainted in the heat; a dog romping through the fields was bitten by a rattlesnake.
A vibrant field of poppies lures Dorothy into a trap in the “Wizard of Oz” when the wicked witch, acknowledging that no one can resist their beauty, poisons the wildflowers and she slips into a fatal slumber until the good witch reverses the spell.
Lake Elsinore had tried to prepare for the crush of people drawn by the super bloom, a rare occurrence that usually happens about once a decade because it requires a wet winter and warm temperatures that stay above freezing.
It offered a free shuttle service to the top viewing spots, but it wasn’t enough.
Sunday traffic got so bad that Lake Elsinore officials requested law enforcement assistance from neighboring jurisdictions. At one point, the city pulled down the curtain and closed access to poppy-blanketed Walker Canyon.
“It was insane, absolutely insane,” said Mayor Steve Manos, who described it as a “poppy apocalypse.”
By Monday the #poppyshutdown announced by the city on Twitter was over and the road to the canyon was re-opened.
And people were streaming in again.
Young and old visitors to the Lake Elsinore area seemed equally enchanted as they snapped selfies against the natural carpet of iridescent orange.
Some contacted friends and family on video calls so they could share the beauty in real time. Artists propped canvasses on the side of the trail to paint the super bloom, while drones buzzed overhead.
Patty Bishop, 48, of nearby Lake Forest, was on her second visit. The native Californian had never seen such an explosion of color from the state flower. She battled traffic Sunday but that didn’t deter her from going back Monday for another look. She got there at sunrise and stayed for hours.
“There’s been so many in just one area,” she said. “I think that’s probably the main reason why I’m out here personally is because it’s so beautiful.”
Stephen Kim and his girlfriend got to Lake Elsinore even before sunrise Sunday to beat the crowds but there were already hundreds of people.
The two wedding photographers hiked on the designated trails with an engaged couple to do a photo shoot with the flowers in the background, but they were upset to see so many people going off-trail and so much garbage. They picked up as many discarded water bottles as they could carry.
“You see this beautiful pristine photo of nature but then you look to the left and there’s plastic Starbucks cups and water bottles on the trail and selfie sticks and people having road rage because some people were walking slower,” said Kim, 24, of Carlsbad.
Andy Macuga, honorary mayor of the desert town of Borrego Springs, another wildflower hotspot, said he feels for Lake Elsinore.
In 2017, a rain-fed super bloom brought in more than a half-million visitors to the town of 3,500. Restaurants ran out of food. Gas stations ran out of fuel. Traffic backed up on a single road for 20 miles (32 kilometers).
The city is again experiencing a super bloom.
The crowds are back. Hotels are full. More than 6,000 people on a recent Saturday stopped at the visitor’s center at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California’s largest park with 1,000 square miles (2,590 sq. kilometers).
But it helps that the masses of blooms are appearing in several different areas this time, and some sections are fading, while others are lighting up with flowers, helping to disperse the crowds a bit.
Most importantly, Macuga said, the town’s businesses prepared this time as if a major storm was about to hit. His restaurant, Carlee’s, is averaging more than 550 meals a day, compared to 300 on a normal March day.
“We were completely caught off guard in 2017 because it was the first time that we had had a flower season like this with social media,” he said. “It helps now knowing what’s coming.”