“It started with Dolly, who was very hands-on in choosing the cast for her family. Then I heard from Dolly that I reminded her of her father Lee Parton,” explains Ricky Schroder as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his role in the recent NBC movie “Coat of Many Colors.” Country music legend Dolly Parton allowed producers to take her classic song and turn it into a telefilm about her life as a young girl. The actor reveals, “She would talk to me about what he was like and how much she loved him, what kind of guy he is. That was helpful.”
A successful former child star, Schroder enjoyed working with Alyvia Alyn Lind who played the young version of Dolly. Of that experience he recalls, “She was a joy to work with, the energy and youth of a child. Everything is magical to her. She’s so likeable and loveable and such a hard worker. My goal wasn’t to be her adviser and to be her friend and make sure she’s having a good time.”
One aspect of the storyline is the father’s reluctance to attend church with the rest of his family. Lee Parton would wait outside next to his truck while the children and his wife were inside on Sundays. Regarding this choice Schroder says, “It’s probably typical of a lot of men that are married to extremely faithful and religious women. They want to support their wives and be there for them, but they don’t necessarily want to be part of it. They’ve got their reasons for resisting God or religion.”
Schroder’s first film role was in the classic 1979 boxing film “The Champ” starring Jon Voight. That role brought him a Golden Globe as the top new film star of the year at the young age of nine. After several more film roles, he starred in the long-running NBC comedy series “Silver Spoons” (1982-1987). Since then he’s had major roles in “Lonesome Dove” (1989), “Crimson Tide” (1995), “NYPD Blue” (1998-2001), and “24” (2007).