Each standalone episode will be based on a different song from Parton’s discography.
As well as being an utterly charming advocate for big hair, LGBTQ rights and children’s literacy, Dolly Parton is one of the world’s greatest living lyricists. From Jolene to 9 to 5, I Will Always Love You to Coat of Many Colours, her songs invoke grand subjects including work, love, heartbreak, money, adultery, religion and death: in other words, all of life’s messiest, most important themes.
Now, Parton’s music is being used as the basis for a new TV series. The New York Times reports that the queen of country music has signed a deal with Netflix, giving the streaming network permission to adapt eight of her songs into standalone episodes for a new anthology series.
Parton will act and sing in the series, as well as serving as executive producer.
“As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music,” she said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favourite songs to life with Netflix.”
This isn’t the first time that Parton’s music has been adapted for the screen. In 1980, 9 to 5 was turned into a feature film of the same name, starring Parton alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as three office workers who seek to overthrow their sexist boss. That film led to a spin-off television series that ran for five seasons, as well as a Broadway musical, and Parton said earlier this year that a film sequel is currently in the works.
In 2008, Jessica Chastain made her film debut in Jolene, a drama inspired by Parton’s iconic track about her partner’s red-haired mistress. Three years ago, meanwhile, Parton wrote the script for a TV movie based on her song Coat of Many Colours, which tells the story of her hardscrabble childhood growing up in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains in the Fifties.
Parton also has a long history of writing music for films, including 1992’s Straight Talk and 2005’s Transamerica. She received death threats for contributing a song to the latter, thanks to the film’s positive portrayal of a transgender character. Currently, she is working on the soundtrack for upcoming musical comedy film Dumplin’, starring Jennifer Aniston as the mother of a plus-size teenager dealing with worries about her weight.
The Netflix series based on Parton’s music is set to premiere in 2019. We already can’t wait.
Images: Getty Images