Dolly Parton originally wanted her goddaughter Miley Cyrus to play Jolene in the upcoming Netflix show inspired by her music.
In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, the country legend explained that Miley wasn’t available to play the homewrecker in the Jolene episode of the anthology series Heartstrings and so the role went to actress/dancer Julianne Hough.
“Years back when I used to think of Jolene, you know, before Julianne came on, I used to think… ‘I’d love Miley.’ She would have been great at that as well. But Miley was doing other things,” she explained.
Dolly admitted Julianne was a breath of fresh air when she showed interest in the role, because “a lot of people” had auditioned.
“We wanted it (character) to be someone that kind of was described in the song, with auburn hair, ivory skin, the emerald green eyes, which she had all of that,” the 73-year-old said. “All she had to do was put on this beautiful red hair and she was the most beautiful Jolene you could ever, ever get.
“She’s such a great little actress. She’s just got such a great spirit and she’s a great singer.”
The Jolene episode of the series will also feature Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Dallas Roberts, and Dolly, who will sing with Julianne.
“I wrote a song for us to do as a duet in a club,” she added. “It was just a joy for us.”
Heartstrings, which will showcase the stories, memories, and inspirations behind some of Dolly’s most beloved songs, is slated for release in the U.S. on 22 November.