Doing what Dolly does, she absolutely crushed her debut role in 9 to 5 — and never looked back — but she was apparently nervous going in. Parton told Tim McGraw about the experience on a new episode of his podcast.
Chatting with her superstar host as part of his Beyond the Influence With Tim McGraw podcast on Apple Music Country, Parton admitted that signing up for 9 to 5 was a leap of faith. She had been asked to do movies before that 1980 hit, and always refused. It was learning that Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were involved that sealed the deal.
“They were both so hot at the time and I thought, ‘Well, if there’s any time to start, this would be now because if it’s a big hit, then I can share in the glory of it. If it’s a failure, I can blame it all on them and I’ll walk away free,'” Parton joked. “But actually I thought it was a good script and I knew that at that time it would be a wonderful thing for women and for the workplace. But my main deal with Jane, I said, ‘I’ll be happy to be in it providing I get to write the theme song.’ My business mind started working also.”
Dolly Parton had never seen how a movie was made, but once she got on set, she was a natural. She was so comfortable, in fact, that she wrote the now-signature “9 to 5″ theme song right there during filming.
“I can write and I can rhyme, and I actually wrote the song on the set as we went along,” she explained. “As I’d watch things and I’d work with my fingernails, my acrylic nails making it sound like a typewriter and I wrote a lot of stuff on the set. So I made it fun, but I knew I had that part under control. I wasn’t worried about the music end of it. I just knew I wanted to do the theme song, but the acting I was a little nervous. I was a little unsure myself, but like I’ve always said, my desire to do things is greater than my fear of it. So I just leaped right in there like I do everything else because I knew if I said I’d do it, I would do it. I would make it work. So it did turn out to be pretty good. So that was when I got a taste of it and I thought, ‘Well, what took me so long?'”
Parton went on to say she thinks choosing roles that a close to her real life personality is the key for her, and she continues to follow that mantra today. For her Emmy-nominated Dolly Parton’s Christmas On the Square, she plays an angel — and of course did all the music herself.
In other Dolly Parton news, the country and style icon will release her new fragrance Scent … From Above on July 28 through the Home Shopping Network.
“I wanted it to smell like me because people follow me around and say, ‘What are you wearing?’ So it’s a combination of things that I’ve put together through the years,” she said. “So hopefully people are going to enjoy it.”