Country crooner Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah might seem like an odd couple on the big screen, but after teaming up in the new gospel musical "Joyful Noise" opening Jan. 13, they're wondering why someone didn't think up this pairing before.
In the film, the two singers-turned-actresses play choir members who have differing opinions on how to clinch a competition and, of course, they must learn to appreciate and respect each other before the credits roll.
The Huffington Post sat down with Parton, who talks music, wigs and plastic surgery: "They're going to have to burn me in Silicon Valley because there ain't nothing real about me except my heart," she quipped. Plus, Queen Latifah joined the conversation.
Did you feel like you were coming home in away by doing this movie?
I loved it so much and [enjoyed] doing something with gospel music. My grandpa was a preacher. I thought this movie was something special that the world needed and I needed personally. I didn't grow up with choirs, but I grew up in the church and I used to sing with my sisters a lot. We had music in our church where you could get up and play. I always loved gospel choirs. It was natural for me and to sing about God, sing about Jesus; it's how we grew up.
You're a country star and Queen Latifah started as a rapper. Does rap music give you a headache?
I don't listen to it. I don't really listen to much music at all other than what I’m writing. My husband listens to more music than I do. I just never got into it. I hear it because of my nieces and nephews.
You always look very put together. Do you ever feel like you're putting on "Dolly"?
Yeah sort of, but it's so natural for me. When I get up in the morning I just feel better if I put on my makeup and fix my hair. I never know what the day is going to bring -- if somebody is going to come by the house. I don't like to look slouchy for my husband unless I'm sick or something. It’s just who I am. I don’t have to be painted to the max when I'm home. I don’t wear wigs, I have my own hair which is shoulder length … People think I look like Kojak or something without my wig.
(Queen Latifah enters the room. )
Have you ever seen Dolly without a wig on?
Latifah: No! Dolly don't play that. I've seen the wigs without Dolly, but I ain't seen Dolly without the wigs.
Parton: Somebody once asked me how long it takes to do my hair. I said, "I don't know; I'm never there!" I never have bad hair because if I don't like one wig I'll get another. I heard a preacher say, "The Bible says that every hair on your head is numbered." I said, "I wonder if he counts the ones on my shelf."
What was the one thing about Dolly that surprised you?
Latifah: I don't know if it was so much of a surprise, but just her humility and how down-to-earth she is, but I always figured she'd be like that so it wasn't much of a surprise. I was more so happy that we hit it off from Day 1. She was just fun.
Dolly's known as a good cook. Did she ever bring you food on set?
Latifah: Chicken and dumplings. The way she slices those dumplings ... and fudge.
You're both big-chested women. Ever compare?
Latifah: I trimmed mine down a little bit.
Parton: I pumped my up a little bit. I do a thing on stage where I say, "I don't hip and I don’t hop, I black both eyes with this big top." I know the Queen has got 'em, too, [but] she don't work 'em like I do. Yeah, we got our boobs, but we got our hearts, and they make our boobs even bigger. They're going to have to burn me in Silicon Valley because there ain't nothing real about me except my heart.
Are you still getting plastic surgery?
Parton: Hell, yeah, as I need it. That's just something you do. I'm in show business. I see something I don't like, I got the time and the money.
What do you think about celebrities who lie about having some nips and tucks?
Parton: Well yeah, that's just silly. It's not the kind of thing that I would ever start talking about. I would have preferred not to have said anything but once people ask, why lie about it? You just say whatever; you just make it part of your routine.
Latifah: Nobody says anything as good as Dolly! All the press junkets I've done over the years ... I should have done a movie with you a long time ago. You make these a lot of fun.