“They were kind of like peanut butter and jelly,” says Megan Hilty about the relationship between country music legends Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. That relationship is portrayed in the Lifetime film “Patsy and Loretta,” starring Hilty as Cline and Tony winner Jessie Mueller as Lynn. Both Hilty and Mueller were nominated for Best Movie/Mini Actress at the Critics’ Choice Awards for their performances. In our exclusive video interview with Hilty and Mueller (watch above), the theater veterans talk about inhabiting the roles of these two legendary artists.
While Mueller absorbed a number of sources for her portrayal of Lynn, including the Oscar-winning “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Hilty chose to avoid other portrayals as she researched Cline. One of those portrayals was Jessica Lange‘s Oscar-nominated performance as Cline in “Sweet Dreams.” “I didn’t want to base my performance off of somebody else’s guesses,” Hilty argues. Mueller, who watched “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” saw Sissy Spacek‘s Oscar-winning portrayal as rather freeing when it came to shaping her own performance. “To me it was about trying to find the essence of who these people were and then figuring our how that translate through you,” Mueller adds.
The film features both Mueller and Hilty performing their own renditions of the singers’ classic songs, something that they found extremely challenging and important. “I find that there can be a huge disconnect if you are simply lip-synching to somebody else’s voice,” Hilty says. “It just doesn’t feel honest.” While both actresses spent countless hours studying their characters’ voices, they never pressured themselves into simply mimicking Cline and Lynn, choosing instead to try to inhabit the songs. “The thing that is so powerful about singers like Patsy and Loretta is that their souls just come through. Their authenticity comes through,” Mueller explains. “So then it was laying all that technical stuff aside and saying ‘okay, I’m just a person interpreting my feelings through song.”
Mueller and Hilty see the friendship between Patsy and Loretta as something that transcends country music. “You don’t see really positive female relationships portrayed in the media in general,” Mueller declares. “These are two women who came to the top of their game and really supported each other through that, and really benefited from each other’s support.”
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