Sam Haskell Interview: ‘Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings’ producer
“We should all walk humbly through this life, but if there’s ever been anyone who deserves a ‘thank you’ or pat-on-the-back, it’s Dolly Parton,” declares Sam Haskell, executive producer of the Netflix anthology series “Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings.” In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he adds, “She is an international icon beloved by the world because she loves the world back.”
Parton, Haskell and the producing team debuted the eight-part series last November. Each episode is based on a story from one of her songs, including “These Old Bones” starring Kathleen Turner and Ginnifer Goodwin, which is entered this summer on the Emmy ballot in the TV movie category. He says that Netflix jokingly refers to their movie as “Blonde Mirror” after successfully entering “Black Mirror” in this same category the past few years.
Regarding the casting of an older mountain woman, he reveals, “Netflix was so excited about finding just the right actress. We started talking about Kathleen Turner and everybody said isn’t she too beautiful and too sexy? People were remembering ‘Body Heat’ and her movies with Michael Douglas…. Because she was originally from Missouri and felt like she could find the accent, she would allow us to deglamorize her. If you watch the movie, you’ll be absolutely convinced she is Miss Mary.”
The project for Netflix also includes installments about her songs “Jolene,” “Two Doors Down,” “If I Had Wings,” “Cracker Jack,” “Down from Dover,” “Sugar Hill” and “J.J. Sneed.” Each movie has a different featured cast, including Julianne Hough, Melissa Leo, Gerald McRaney, Delta Burke, Holly Taylor, Mary Lane Haskell, Patricia Wettig and Timothy Busfield.
The last time Haskell and Parton had a project for television, she and her team were nominated at the Emmys for Best TV Movie. That bid in 2017 was for “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” a story based on her early life in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.