Set in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains in the 1950s, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors tells the true story of Parton’s early years growing up within a tight-knit family struggling to overcome devastating tragedy. Young actress Alyvia Alyn Lind leads plays nine-year-old Parton, surrounded by a veteran cast that includes Ricky Schroder as her father, Jennifer Nettles as her mother, and Gerald McRaney as her grandfather.
Lind and Schroder joined us to discuss their roles in the television movie, young stardom, and their favorite holiday movies and songs.
DIRECTV: What drew you to your roles in Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors?
Ricky Schroder: Working with Dolly and a story set in Appalachia…a world unto itself.
Alyvia Alyn Lind: I always loved 9 to 5, so I knew who Dolly Parton was. She was my favorite in the movie—and I really liked the song and her voice. When I heard that I was auditioning to play her, I was so excited!
What do you think viewers will find that they might not be expecting?
Ricky: This special film shows the world where Dolly came from, why she has such a huge heart, and who the people were who guided and protected her in her childhood.
Alyvia: It is not a fluffy movie. It shows the ups, but it also shows the downs of Dolly’s life as a little girl. It wasn’t all happy and laughter—but in the end, the family finds out that “love never fails” and no matter what happens in life, as long as you have family, and faith, and love, everything will be ok.
How did you prepare for the role and did anything surprised you about the experience?
Alyvia: I immediately looked up interviews with her online so I could study her accent, and look at the way she moved and smiled and talked and laughed.
When I found pictures of her online when she was a little girl, I thought I was looking at my twin!
Sometimes actors seem one way on screen, but when you meet them, they are very different. Dolly was exactly how you would imagine her. She is so full of life and energy. She was so easy to get to know and made me feel comfortable and relaxed when I auditioned for her. And then when I started working with her, I felt like I had known her forever.
Ricky, you started in the business—and found success—at a young age. Did you have any advice for your young co-star?
Ricky: Aly is an extremely talented, hardworking little girl, with amazing opportunities in front of her. If there was any child I would want to add to my family…hands down, it’s Aly.
Alyvia: Ricky talked to me about being a young actor and told me that I reminded him of himself. He just gave me support and I knew he understood what it takes to give up a lot of “childhood” things—because acting takes almost all of your time. I really felt connected to him because he has been through what my life is now. I hope that I get to work my whole life—like he has.
The film is based on Dolly’s autobiographical song…do you have a favorite holiday song that never gets old?
Ricky: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, by the Boss…Mr. Bruce Springsteen.
Alyvia: I love “Silent Night”. I sang it to my baby brother on The Young and the Restless for their Christmas episode and it felt so special to me. I like a lot of Christmas songs like, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”—I can NEVER get that out of my head!!!
Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
Ricky: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know, the old Claymation one. I still tremble when The Abominable Snowman appears.
Alyvia: Elf is not only my all-time Christmas favorite, but one of my favorite movies of all time. People think I say that because I worked with Will Ferrell and he was the nicest guy, but I’ve always loved it. It makes me laugh nonstop AND seeing Christmas in New York is magical. I’m going to New York this week for work so I can get a real taste of the holidays!
Set your DVR for the premiere of the NBC original movie, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, Thursday December 10 at 9/8c on NBC!