Dolly Parton Performs 'Girl in the Movies' From 'Dumplin'' Before Rapt Industry Crowd

Dolly Parton
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Netflix

Dolly Parton performs onstage with Linda Perry at a luncheon for the Netflix Film Dumplin' at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on Oct. 22, 2018 in Los Angeles.

Dolly Parton didn’t mince words when she hopped onstage Monday during a luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills to sing before a group of journalists, awards voters and other tastemakers.

“We’re politickin’!” she gleefully and refreshingly declared before she and co-writer Linda Perry launched into a version of the wistful “Girl in the Movies” from Dumplin’.

It is awards season, after all, and that means shilling for votes for Golden Globes and all manner of special prizes between now and the Feb. 24 Academy Awards. But few do it in such a delightful manner as Parton or with such an angelic voice. Parton has been nominated twice for the Oscar for best original song: in 1981 for the title track to 9 to 5 and in  2006 for “Travelin’ Thru” from Transamerica.

Dumplin’, which opens in select theaters Dec. 7 and on Netflix the same day and stars Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald, is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Julie Murphy. The title teenage protagonist worships Parton and her lyrics often serve as mantras for Dumplin’ as she navigates through life.

Parton kept hearing about the novel and finally read it. “I loved it and I was very humbled and touched that I had inspired someone, Julie Murphy, who did a great job writing the book.”

A few years later, Aniston’s office called to alert Parton they were making a movie adapted from the book and to ask permission to license Parton’s music. “I said, ‘Of course,’” Parton recalled, adding that they later asked, “'Would you be willing to write a theme song in addition to the music that we have?' and I said, ‘Sure, yeah, whatever I can do to help.’”

The movie’s producers paired Parton with producer Linda Perry (“She used to be in a group 4 Non Blondes,” Parton informed the audience. “I guess today, it’s just 1 non-blonde. That’s the group right here”).

Parton and Perry wrote “Girl in the Movies” and “Lordy, songs just kept coming out of us one right after another,” Parton said, until they had come up with six new songs over three days.

“This is the first time I’ve ever worked with a female producer and there’s a female director on this movie. … I really connected with [Linda] musically because I have a raw feeling about me and my growing up and the way that I see music, and sometimes it don’t always show. … You lost it through the years, trying to be commercial or get too slick or this or that. When I met Linda, it just felt so real to me and raw.”

The duo only performed “Girl in the Movies” since it is the song submitted for awards contention and also because Parton admitted she’s exhausted. “They’ve got my little country ass wore out, going back and forth to Atlanta. I’m working on a Netflix deal there, making a movie for the songs I’ve written and doing this and flying back and forth, so if my voice is a little ragged, tough.”

The Dumplin’ original soundtrack comes out on Dolly Records/RCA Nashville on Nov. 30.

Dumplin' soundtrack track list:

1. Here I Am (Dolly Parton & Sia)
2. Holdin’ On To You (Dolly Parton & Elle King)
3. Girl in the Movies
4. Red Shoes
5. Why (Dolly Parton & Mavis Staples)
6. Dumb Blonde (Dolly Parton & Miranda Lambert)
7. Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton & Willa Amai)
8. Who
9. Push & Pull
10. If We Don’t (Dolly Parton & Rhonda Vincent with Alison Krauss)
11. Two Doors Down (Dolly Parton & Macy Gray with DOROTHY)
12. Jolene (New String Version)