Dolly Parton Wanted Miley Cyrus to Play Jolene Before It Went to Julianne Hough in 'Heartstrings' (Exclusive)

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Dozens of celebs will bring Dolly Parton's most memorable songs to life in her new Netflix anthology series, Heartstrings, but there's one star who unfortunately wasn't available. 

Parton sat down with ET's Keltie Knight in Tennessee on Monday, where she revealed that years ago, she initially hoped her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, would play Jolene in a future project. In Heartstrings, the role ended up going to Julianne Hough

"Years back when I used to think of Jolene, you know, before Julianne came on, I used to think... I'd love -- Miley would have been great at that as well," she shares. "But Miley was doing other things. It wasn't that kind of a thing, but she would have been great in that as well."

Parton said she went through "a lot of people" before deciding on Hough. "We wanted it to be someone that kind of was described in the song, with auburn hair, ivory skin, the emerald green eyes, which she had all of that," she explains of the former Dancing With the Stars judge. "All she had to do was put on this beautiful red hair and she was the most beautiful Jolene you could ever, ever get."

"She's such a great little actress," Parton gushes. "She's just got such a great spirit and she's a great singer."


The "Jolene" episode, which tells the story of an unexpected friendship between different women who find themselves part of the iconic love triangle, also stars Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Dallas Roberts and Parton herself. The legendary singer will play "Babe" in the episode -- which will also see her sing with Hough. 

"I wrote a song for us to do as a duet in a club," she shares. "So, the fact that we got to do a duet was just a joy for us."

Singing with the icon could make anyone nervous, but Parton said it was seamless between her and Hough. 

"She was very sure of herself and she knows she's a star in her own right," Parton notes. "I think we just love being together. I don't think she was thinking that she was singing with Dolly Parton, she was just getting to sing with another female artist... [We're] very compatible and our voices really blended really well, so we just got into it as just singers and loved it."


Dolly Parton's Heartstrings launches Nov. 22 on Netflix with eight episodes: "These Old Bones," "If I Had Wings," "JJ Sneed," "Jolene," "Cracker Jack," "Sugar Hill," "Down From Dover" and "Two Doors Down."

See more from our interview with Parton on Monday's ET. Find out how to watch here


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