Dolly Parton is nothing if not forthright when discussing her role as G.G. in the film Joyful Noise, costarring Queen Latifah. “It really is the perfect part for me,” Parton says of G.G. — which stands for “Gorgeous Grandma.” “She likes the hair and nails and clothes, and she’s had a few procedures done. She comes right out with whatever she thinks, and I’m like that. I was real comfortable with it.”
She may have been comfortable, but it was also part of the role of G.G. to maintain an uncomfortable relationship with Vi Rose, Latifah’s character. It was a rivalry the two of them chose to maintain on set even when the cameras weren’t rolling. “They are always at odds,” Parton says of G.G. and Vi. “They just automatically rub each other the wrong way. So Dana and I didn’t hang out together. We’d make snide remarks, saying these awful things to each other around the set, just like Vi and G.G. would. But it was all in fun.”
Getting Parton on board in the first place was a fun and memorable experience for director Todd Graff, who had reason to doubt that she would agree to take on the role of G.G. at this stage of her career. “I knew Dolly hadn’t made a film in 20 years, and I had absolutely no reason to think that she was going to start doing movies again,” Graff says. But now he fondly recalls her vivaciousness and sass at his first meeting with her on the project.
“I heard her before I saw her,” Graff remembers. “She wears these gigantic spike heels and she clatters down the hallway, singing all the time. She walks in dressed like she’s about to go onstage. I said, ‘You really don’t disappoint, do you?’ And she said, ‘If you ring my doorbell at 8 in the morning, this is what I look like.’ So I asked, ‘What if I ring your doorbell at five minutes to 8?’ She answered, ‘I don’t open the door.’”
Joyful Noise is available starting May 1 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.