We’re living in a digital age in which no-names become famous from YouTube and streaming platforms are outspending the Big Four broadcast networks combined. In showbiz, anything can happen, and that includes taking a classic 45-year-old ditty and turning it into a made-for-TV movie. That’s what Netflix is doing with Dolly Parton’s 1973 track “Jolene” for part of the singer’s upcoming anthology series, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, based on the country legend’s songs. Now the streamer has found its live-action Jolene in Julianne Hough.
Variety reports that Hough is joining Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Dallas Roberts and Parton herself in the “Jolene” episode of the eight-part series. Jolene is described as “a flirtatious free spirit with aspirations of escaping her small hometown of Coventry, Ga., to follow her dreams of becoming a successful singer-songwriter.” In a twist on The Twilight Zone, each episode of Heartstrings will feature Parton introducing the song on which the story is based. For “Jolene,” Parton will play Babe, the owner of the honky-tonk where Jolene works as a waitress and where the two become friends.
So who is Hough? Eagle-eyed movie fans might have caught her in her previous roles in the 2011 Footloose remake, Safe Haven and Fox’s Grease: Live. Reality TV hounds may know her best as the two-time champion of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. The 30-year-old is a triple threat, which should make her the perfect fit for a Dolly Parton show.
Strangely, this is not the first time the small screen has conjured up a movie out of Parton’s songs. In 2015, NBC made Coat of Many Colors, starring Alyvia Alyn Lind and Jennifer Nettles, which was based on the musician’s track of the same name.
Its premiere date has not been announced, but Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings is expected to hit Netflix sometime in 2019.