In a new comedy written and starring Australian Krew Boylan, we see a woman who pursues her dream of being the best Dolly Parton impersonator. Along the way, she meets other talented impersonators, deals with her family’s objections, and finds her place in the world. 

Boylan has been acting since she was a child, but this is her first screenplay. I spoke with her recently via Zoom about what inspired the first film that she wrote and starred in: 

Tara: Dolly Parton is a country superstar. How did you get into Dolly Parton all the way in Australia? 

Boylan: My mom showed me Steel Magnolias, and it really impacted me. It made me think of women’s lives and what success looks and feels like. And for me, the epitome of success is Dolly Parton. She is so talented. Her music, books, Dollywood, and even how she looks while still controlling the joke. She also still has such heart and joy. 

While watching, I kept thinking maybe this is the 1980s, but then you have Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga impersonators, so I realized this is the present day. How did you guys come up with that style, plus not really showing technology for a while?

You have a great eye! That was intentional. I do not like technology. It can kill creativity, just like, “oh, send a text, problem solved.” But also, I wanted to show a particular period in Dolly’s life which is around this time period. 

“Dolly Parton is about being the best version of yourself but never taking yourself too seriously.”

From Seriously Red

The character is still in the closet about her sexuality (she gets intimate with a female and male impersonator). Why is she in the closet if it is more present? 

It shows her discomfort with her place in the world and not wanting to share herself, her world as a Dolly impersonator, with people like her mother. She wants to keep it in the closet, like you say, for as long as she can until she figures out her place in the world. 

You have been acting for a while, and this is your first screenplay. How did you decide on this particular story? 

We haven’t seen the world of impersonators and performers in a while. We have The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Strictly Ballroom, but this is different. It comes from a female perspective, and I wanted the film to explore what success is. 

I admit I did not really grow up listening to Dolly Parton. I was intrigued because I am a fan of Celeste Barber, Rose Byrne, and Bobby Cannavale. 

Well, Rosy Byrne is a good friend of mine. We grew up together. Her husband, Bobby, said he would want to impersonate Neil Diamond. Similar to you not being familiar with Dolly, I wasn’t familiar with Neil, so I did research and loved it and made those changes. And Celeste Barber, I had worked with before. While she has become more known as a comedienne, she is first and still an actress. I met Dan Webber a few times and knew he has the right sensibility for what is needed. 

Our last few minutes were very thought-provoking. We discussed the actors’ job to play characters that are playing parts/impersonators. 

As (acting) professionals, we are already wearing masks. When you boil it down, we are all wearing masks. We choose to portray ourselves even through social media. So it made me think of how you think of your own identity, and this is not talked about that much, but how much of your identity changes and shifts. We are constantly changing. This is what makes me passionate and emotional. We are in a fast pace, quick-share kind of world, and I do take a leaf out of Dolly’s book. She has done it all, and still, we don’t know that much about her. That’s really precious. 

So as you read, you don’t have to be a huge Dolly fan to enjoy and understand the characters’ motivations. Check the film for yourself when it is released in theaters and on-demand on February 10th.

Watch the trailer:

*Images from Seriously Red and MPRM Communications