Jennifer Aniston really loves Dolly Parton. The actress stars in (and executive produces) the Netflix dramedy “Dumplin’,” about a girl who is a big Dolly Parton fan. Legendary entertainer Parton provided new songs for the soundtrack.
Not only did country legend Dolly Parton agree to let producer Aniston use her classic songs and write six original numbers (including the Golden Globe-nominated “Girl in the Movies”), but the two became real-life girlfriends as well.
“I’m living out so many people’s fantasy,” says Aniston, 49, who has pulled through real-life drama this year after her high-profile, but amicable, divorce from husband Justin Theroux earlier this year. As she sits down with USA TODAY, she’s all bright smiles, especially after having Parton sign several album covers.
Question: Did I literally see you getting a Dolly Parton autograph?
Jennifer Aniston: Those are for my girlfriends. There’s a lot of Dolly worship out there. Not only have I been able to create something with her and sing with her, but I’ve even girlfriended with her. I’m humbled.
Q:You have a dog named Dolly?
Aniston: Yes, I do (proudly showing her iPhone wallpaper of a white shepherd). That’s her, she’s even blonde. When she was a teeny thing, she sat in my hand. I said, “You’re just a little doll. You’re a little Dolly Parton.” She’s beautiful.
Q:Did Dolly the dog and Dolly Parton bond?
Aniston: It was so cute. Dolly the dog came up to her and sniffed her. And then Dolly went down to her. I have this sweet picture of them nose-to-nose.
Q:You’ve never done a beauty pageant. What would’ve been your talent?
Aniston: (Concentrates with eyes closed.) I don’t know. I can’t twirl a baton, can’t yodel, can’t tap dance. My talent would just be, well, nothing that would serve me in a beauty pageant. Unless you would let me do a monologue from a Neil Simon play.
Q: Rosie and her daughter (played by Danielle Macdonald) have a challenging relationship. How much did that go back to the relationship with your mother, Nancy Dow (who died in 2016)?
Aniston: “Dumplin’ ” kicked up stuff for me about my mom and our relationship. It was definitely push-pull. My mom wasn’t doing anything intentional to damage any self-esteem of mine, as we discussed in our older years together. She was doing what she thought best. She wasn’t raised with great parental support. She was a beautiful, stunning girl and that’s how she made a living, modeling. She was teaching me what she thought was important. Which was how to look good. That wasn’t necessarily where my interests lay.
Q:Were you able to tap into that raw emotion when Rosie cries over her daughter in “Dumplin”http://www.usatoday.com/”?
Aniston: I did. It was pretty easily accessed, let’s just say.
Q: That blue frock Rosie rocks in “Dumplin”http://www.usatoday.com/” was wild. Please explain.
Aniston: It’s based on an actual dress that Dolly wore. I felt pretty silly feeling wearing it, like a clown, in the best way. But it was perfect, showing Rosie throwing her control out the window and letting freedom come in.
Q: It’s the end of the year. Where’s your head at? And what are you looking forward to in 2019?
Aniston: First off, I cannot believe it’s already December. That’s outrageous. I’m excited for “Dumplin”http://www.usatoday.com/” to come out. And I’m excited for 2018 to move on. It was the year of the dog. I don’t know if there’s one person you can come into contact with who wasn’t like, ‘This year can go (gesture) itself.’ Know what I mean? A lot of people passing and a lot of endings that can only create room for new growth and new beginnings. That’s what I’m excited about.
Q: 2018 capped with California fires and angry politics.
Aniston: It’s biblical. We’re literally living in biblical times. But I feel like something has got to give.
It was a “Friends” frenzy on social media after Netflix said the ’90s sitcom would leave the streaming service in January 2019.
Q: And there was this world frenzy when it appeared Netflix was losing “Friends”…
Aniston: (Interrupting) I heard that! Apparently “Friends” was going to be taken off Netflix. Then it wasn’t. Was there really a frenzy about it? Or a “Friend”-sy?
Q: Yes, and nice one. With multiple Netflix projects, did you use your clout to save the day?
Aniston: I didn’t. It must’ve been the support and love of those ever-faithful “Friends” fans.
Q: What a beautiful note to leave 2018 on.
Aniston: Yes, “Friends” isn’t dead. It’s alive and well.