Dolly Parton is having a couple of busy months. She recently released a holiday album then she funded money for the COVID vaccine and now she produces and starred in the Netflix’s musical Christmas On The Square. She even wrote 14 festive tunes for the movie. Dolly Parton Christmas on the Square is about a woman who tries to sell his neighbour.
Dolly Parton Christmas On The Square Movie
“I love all the Christmas shows on TV, all the Christmas specials — and especially any Christmas musical, and this is my first Christmas musical,” Parton tells EW. “I had the chance to write 14 original new songs, and hearing all these wonderful artists sing them was a real joy for me.”
Bringing together Parton, Baranski, and Lewis in a film written, directed, choreographed, and produced by Debbie Allen, Christmas on the Square boasts an incomparable lineup of industry icons.
“Truly, to watch the four of them work — they are all legends, and they have such unbelievable careers, and they are really well matched,” Mason tells EW. “They are in the same rhythm. They are such consummate professionals, such optimists.”
For Baranski, “it was the privilege of a lifetime,” she says. “When I heard this project was being done and then they wanted to send me a script, I said, ‘I don’t need to read the script, it’s Dolly Parton, I just want to be on a set with Dolly Parton!” The country queen responds: “Well, I have been a big fan of Christine’s for years, so getting a chance to work with her was really wonderful.”
“I was so proud of everybody,” Parton says of the cast performing her original songs. Of the 14 tracks she wrote for the film, she loves the holiday tunes “Christmas Is” and “Christmas on the Square” (both of which also recorded herself and included on her album Holly Dolly Christmas, the former with Miley Cyrus), but also names “Can You Forgive Me?” sung by Baranski at the end of the film, as a particular favorite. “I think it also has a real message in it for a lot of people — but she just delivered it so well.”
For Allen and Lewis, working together was a happy reunion: “It was just like family, music, having the best pot of gumbo you can ever have,” Allen enthuses. “I’ve loved her forever.”
“Debbie gave me my first job in Hollywood on A Different World, so when she calls, I answer,” Lewis adds. “I was in Antarctica when she called. I said, ‘I’m down here with 400,000 penguins.’ She said ‘I don’t care, you get to Buenos Aires and then you get to Los Angeles’ — 18 text messages! — ‘Get to Debbie Allen Dance Academy and learn to vogue!’ [demonstrates voguing] Girl, so there was Dolly Parton in rhinestones [puts on rhinestone face shield, rings jingle bells], 85 Christmas songs, and baby we went!”
Lewis (whom Parton describes as “crazy in a good way”) does have one small criticism for the director, however: “I will say that Debbie snatched my wig off at one point.” Allen protests, “We were trying to shoot a shot, and she had the whole cast in the corner singing one of her songs! I’m like, girl, we don’t have time for this mess. And she kept singing — I snatched that wig. I snatched it.”
“Thank god,” Baranski says. “Thank god we did it and thank god we waited to release it an extra year. I think the world needs it so badly. This year it’s going to be a real gift to people.” Reflects Allen: “There was no COVID when we shot this movie, but we knew we were doing something that was going to be important. It has so much joy, but it also has some really hard lessons learned — there’s a morality to it, there’s a moral spine to it.”
“The coming-together!” Lewis adds. “The importance of us all coming together, human beings around the world right now, for a common good, and as John Lewis said, good trouble. We’ve all got to stand up and evolve, consciously, into this new behavior, which is, and I’m not joking [puts bedazzled face shield back on]: stay safe! Stay safe this holiday season! And wear many rhinestones like Dolly Parton! That’s my message.”
After a year like this, there’s even more to learn from the legendary singer. “She is so about making people’s day a little brighter. That is truly her essence, and it’s the messaging of our film, and god — we need it now more than ever,” Mason says. “One of my last days on set, she said to me, ‘you’ve got to remember that, at the end of the day, as entertainers, what we’re here to do is to lift people out of our sadness, even if it’s just for that hour or two. That makes it all worth it.’”
Dolly Parton Christmas on the Square is now Available on Netflix. One can chill and watch the movie at home with their loved ones and relax before getting busy for Christmas.