BootLeg Betty

BetteBack: Bette, Goldie, Julia, Dolly And A Little “Straight Talk”

Article from:Albany Times Union (Albany, NY) Article date:April 12, 1992
Byline: Barry Koltnow Orange County Register

If anyone has a reason to gripe about the tabloids this year, it’s Dolly Parton.

The scandal sheets have had a field day at Parton’s expense, splashing her face across their covers week after week under banner headlines that have screamed of outlandish revelations concerning the star’s medical condition. Specifically, the tabloids have talked a lot about her breasts.

First, the tabs said she underwent a breast reduction. Then they turned around and said she had her breasts enhanced with implants “the size of basketballs.” Finally, they warned that the star’s implants were leaking and therefore threatening her life.

But Parton, whose new movie “Straight Talk” opens Friday, is so nice, so forgiving and so positive in her thinking that she doesn’t harbor any resentment toward anyone, including the tabs.

“I set myself up for a lot of it,” she said recently at her Los Angeles hotel. “I’m very famous for the boobs, and I certainly don’t do anything to hide them. That makes me appealing on a cover, especially now with this silicone scare.

“With the way I look, I’m going to be the one that they put on the cover and say those things about, whether it’s true or not.”

And it’s definitely not true.

“The only time I do get a little concerned about what the tabloids say is when it involves an issue like this that’s so important to women. A lot of people don’t know the difference between the real press and the tabs and they believe that I’m sick.

“When you’re a celebrity, you have millions of fans and you’re like a member of the family. They get afraid when you’re ill. They think you’re going to die and they don’t want to lose you.”

For the record, Parton, 46, said she did have her breasts lifted after an illness, but that there is no danger. “I’ve not sprung a leak,” she said in characteristic candor.

“This thing with me and the tabloids has been going on for years,” Parton added. “And it hasn’t always been bad. They’ve kept me hot between bad records and bad movies.

“I don’t know why, but the tabloids find me mysterious and intriguing, which is kind of silly because I tell everything I know. What’s so mysterious about that?”

The popular actress, Grammy Award-winning singer and proprietor of the 87-acre Smoky Mountains amusement park called Dollywood said she feels grateful to be considered important enough to be on the covers of the tabloids. Only Dolly would put it that way.

But the tabloids are right in that Parton’s career is still going strong, and it may take a pronounced swing upward again this week with the opening of “Straight Talk,” a Cinderella story in which she plays a country girl who moves to the big city and lands a prestigious job as a radio psychologist.

Although she has made her mark in Hollywood as a strong supporting actress – “9 to 5” and “Steel Magnolias” are her two best roles – this is the first time she has been asked to carry an entire film as the star.

“I’m real proud of that,” she says in her trademark Southern twang. “But it’s not an ego thing; I’ve just been curious whether I could carry a movie myself and let someone else be the co-star.”

That someone else is two-time Emmy winner James Woods, who plays a cynical newspaper reporter who wines and dines Parton’s character in the hope of digging up the real dirt behind the city’s hottest radio personality.

The character Parton plays is so much like her that it seems impossible that the script was not written with her in mind. In fact, she said she was told that it was, but other actresses were considered for the role.

“Seven years ago, the script was brought to me (by Disney executives) and they said it was written with me in mind. Whether that’s true, I don’t know.

“But I couldn’t do it right then, so they gave it to Bette Midler who held on to it for four years. Finally, she gave up on it and they gave it to Goldie Hawn and she had it for a while. Then it went back to Bette and eventually to Julia Roberts.

“When Julia wasn’t sure about whether she wanted to do it, I went to Disney and said, ‘Can I have my script back now?’

“I knew where it was all along because I kept checking on it through the years. I believed that this was my movie; it was meant to be.”

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3 thoughts on “BetteBack: Bette, Goldie, Julia, Dolly And A Little “Straight Talk”

  1. “Straight Talk” along with “9 to 5” are my all-time-favorite Dolly films. She, with her uncle, were responsible for the soundtrack of “Straight Talk” and it is delicious! The script is full of incredibly funny one-liners deserving of Miss M.

    1. When I saw that movie I remember thinking Bette could have played that role easily. But I loved Dolly in it….

  2. I don’t regret Miss M didn’t make “Straight Talk” because I love Dolly so much. But The Divine One shouldn’t had passed Rocky, Sister Act (with Marc Shaiman on the music) and, above all, she could have won an OSCAR for Misery. I respect and enjoy Kathy Bates a lot, but Miss M would have ruled in that part. But OK, even goddesses make wrong decisions.

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