Gary and Larry Lane had a dream. The North Carolina-born twins, both of whom are gay, wanted to present a movie script called Full Circle that they had written especially for their childhood idol Dolly Parton. The boarded their RV, lovingly named Jolene after Parton's early hit, to travel from Los Angeles to Tennessee to seek out the entertainer. Along the way they made detours and friends at a Texas truck stop and Parton-themed drag nights, where they encountered other Parton fans, both gay and straight. What began as a single task to hand-deliver their script quickly turned into a journey filled with family secrets, confessions, and acceptance. Hollywood to Dollywood, the documentary about their journey, which has already been a hit on the festival circuit in 2011, opens theatrically for one week at New York's Quad Cinema begnning today, followed by one week at L.A.'s Laemmle NoHo 7 beginning September 7. Gary Lane tells The Advocate how he and his brother first beame Parton fans, their mother's difficulty in accepting their sexual orientation, and meeting their idol at Dollywood.
The Advocate: What is your first memory of Dolly Parton?
Gary Lane: Hearing "Islands in the Stream" a million times in 1983. We were 8 years old.
You spent nearly five years writing Full Circle specifically with Dolly in mind. What inspired the script?
Our love for Dolly and wanting to write a character that would get her an Oscar for music and acting.
Most writers go through managers, agents, or producers. What made you decide to drive from Hollywood to Dollywood to hand-deliver the script to Dolly?
We sent it to Dolly’s management team in Nashville, and they sent it back unopened as unsolicited material. So we decided to make the long drive to Dolly. Jolene was thirsty, but it was sure worth the $3,000 we spent in gas.
Do you know if she has read the script?
We’re not sure. But we know we put it in her diamond-draped hands. We hope with the amazing life of Hollywood to Dollywood she will consider it. Up until last week we had only heard from her manager and lawyers as we locked in the contract to use 17 of her songs in Hollywood to Dollywood. Last week in Nashville at a press conference a reporter asked her about the film and she replied, “They are just sweet Southern boys. I was glad to lend them my music for the film, and proud to be a part of it.” That’s huge for us
Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black appears in the film and comments on your script, saying, “I’ve read a lot worse.” Did that sting a bit?
Not at all. He told us we had great characters, but the Dolly character was too heavy with content, and we needed to give more to the other ladies. [Laughs] He helped us edit it. We owe Lance so much. He helped us get it into shape from 170 pages to a slim, trim Hollywood 107. Who gets a script review from an amazing friend who just happens to be an Oscar winner? It’s a blessing.