When you put two powerful presences in the same movie, you know you’ve got big screen gold on your hands and that’s exactly what Joyful Noise writer and director Todd Graff did when he cast the iconic duo Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton.
The two powerhouse actresses/singers shared some of their limited time to chat with HB about the movie, their roles and how they manage to keep their own faith in Hollywood. Make sure you check out Joyful Noise on January 13th!
Dolly, what have you been doing for the last 20 years?
Dolly Parton: I’ve been doing a lot! Dollywood and all sorts of things. I’ve been touring. People think you don’t do anything because you’re not on the big screen. I haven’t had any good scripts come along. I’ve had a lot of junk. Right after Straight Talk, it was a time where I was too old to play young parts and too young to play old parts. But then something like this came along and I could play my age—I have a grandson and a young spirit. I thought this was the perfect script for me. The character was everything I believe myself to be. She’s got a big heart, big hopes and big hair. [laughs]
Would you consider doing one of each other’s songs?
Dolly Parton: Sure!
Queen Latifah: Well, she wrote the songs from the movie, so I guess I already did. You still owe me some joints. [laughs]
Dolly Parton: I do a rap thing by her in my stage shows.
Queen Latifah: You’ve got to pull it up on YouTube, it’s the best.
Dolly Parton: Yes, we would! We would even do a duet outside the movie.
Two dominant female iconic brands—you’ve done so much in entertainment. Do you take ownership in that?
Queen Latifah: Dolly was very much an icon to me growing up—the way she carried herself. She was very gifted up there and I developed early, so she was of the people that I saw that carried it well. She’s got grace, poise, talent and quick wit. She’s definitely inspired me and I’ve tried to continue that carrying myself a certain way, how I feel about women and how we should be treated through my raps and my career. Whatever great benefit it’s had is fantastic.
Dolly Parton: We did great together because we are totally two individuals. She’s got her space, I have mine and I respect that. We admire each other for that. We don’t have to be best girlfriends, going to eat out—I know who she is, she knows who I am and we respect each other and our space—just like you do all people that are strong in their faith and themselves. Every day it’s something that we admire in each other that’s new.
Dolly, because your role was written for you, what challenged you as an actress?
Dolly Parton: I don’t think anything challenged me as an actress, but let me tell you what did scare me—is when I found out I would have to learn choreography. I’m always clapping on the off-beat. To learn to dance, I freaked out! I can’t even walk and chew gum! I thought, oh no! I worked so hard. The little routines that I did with everyone else, you have no idea how long that took me. That’s the first time I had to do something like that and I was scared! It was out of my element. I’m no dancer. I was panicked. I prayed for God to dance through me. [laughs]
Queen, where did you go emotionally to get through your most powerful scene in the movie?
Queen Latifah: The elevator scene with Kiki was about embodying the words from that scene. Todd’s a great writer. He put the nuts and bolts there. We needed to curve it here and there to make it personal. Although I’m not a mom yet, I have been that 17-year-old girl that needed to get checked. I know the pain I caused my mom when we communicated about that. I also witnessed the birth of a friend of mine’s two children. So when a mom says, “I brought you into this world, I can take you out…” I really understand what it is to push someone out of your body and bring them here. It’s a great deal of love and pain. You put a lot into a child, so to have them go away from the path that you set for them is difficult. Especially when you’re missing a man and no one knows how cold your sheets are at night. I tried to imagine all the things Vi Rose does in a day—cleaning bedpans, being compassionate and kind, coming home taking care of two teenagers (one with special needs), trying to keep your faith, lead a choice—she was all about controlling everything. That was the moment that pushed her over the edge.
Being that you’re both women of faith, how do you maintain your beliefs in a place like Hollywood?
Dolly Parton: My faith is very personal to me. God is just my best friend. There’s only one God and we each try to get to him in some way. I just keep myself anchored. I don’t worry about what other people do or say. He’s my personal savior. I claim that. I speak to God just like He’s my best friend. When I get upset, I argue with Him. [laughs] The more personal your faith is to you, the stronger it is and the more you get out of it.
Queen Latifah: I conquer with all of that. I’ll add that I do a lot of things that make me have to lean back on Jesus. I’m not perfect, but having faith has allowed me not to become “of Hollywood, hip hop or the hood.” I step into those worlds, but God quickly reminds me of what the truth really is.
View the Joyful Noise trailer below!
Also On HelloBeautiful:
1. Blue. #May10 #NYC
2. Blue Ivy & Jay Z Sip Tea
Blue is surely the apple of Daddy's eye.
3. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Smell The Roses
Beyonce seems like the coolest mom.
4. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Soar The Big Skies
5. Blue Ivy & Mommy
6. Daddy & Me
Blue Ivy walks across mommy's at-home photoshoot, but it's the most adorable photobomb ever!
8. One Big Happy Family
The royal family, Bey, Jay & Blue are all out shopping and we're sure they spent our entire life's savings in 30 minutes or less.
9. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Beyonce in these heels though?!
10. Beyoncé & Blue in NYC — Nov. 4
Look at Blue in her adorable little bow!
11. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Blue holding on to mommy for dear life.
12. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Momma Bey looking fierce with her mini me in tow.
13. Blue dressed as Michael Jackson.
14. Blue & Ivy
Just look at that face. Seriously, Jay could never deny this child! She knows how to make all his mean mugs!
15. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Look at that cutie!
16. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
OMG Blue in a top knot? Yasss!
Blue has grown up to be an adorable toddler! We're swooning over this photo of her playing on the beach.
Looks like Blue is taking a walk in mom's shoes...literally.
19. Beyoncé & Blue
There's nothing like being cuddled up in mom's arms.
Blue is looking all kinds of adorable! Look at that left hand go! LOL.
21. Blue On The Big Screen
Bey & Jay look at Blue during a video played at an "On The Run" tour stop. How precious!
22. Pardon Blue's Back
She's growing up so fast! We're loving the top knot. Take that Blue Ivy hair critics!
23. Jump Around
Bey & Blue share an adorable moment on the trampoline. Hello summer!
24. Rocking Some Cute Ponytails
Blue Ivy was spotted with a new 'do! Bey & Jay's mini-me was holding on to her father during a little day stroll.
25. Strolling With Mom & Dad
Blue, Jay and Bey all spotted in East Hampton.
26. Blue Has A Manicure Day With Mama Bey
"Me and my Blue, and my Blue Blue, riding🐝"
27. Hanging Out With Mom
Baby Blue is walking to the door, and it looks like Bey is trying to keep up!
28. Trying On Some Heels
Will Blue be slaying a performance in the near future?
29. Holding On To Mom
Blue looks like she has something to say to Bey.
30. Playing A Game Of Tennis
Blue walks on the tennis court.
31. Cuddling With Mom
Blue & Beyonce have some much-needed cuddle time.
32. Blue Ivy
"The blueprint 🐝"
33. Bey & Blue Take A Stroll
Doesn't Blue look adorable with her colorful dress and cute hair ribbon?
34. The Carter Lounge Together
The family was seen out and about.
35. Jay Z Carries Blue While Bey Looks On
Jay carries Blue in his arms.
36. Leading The Way
Blue Ivy looks too cute with her bowler hat and Mama Bey watching from behind. She's really growing up!
37. Out On The Town
Blue Ivy & Momma Bey enjoy some much deserved time off in Spain.
38. Traveling With Mom and Dad
Blue is used to traveling with Mama Bey and Poppa Jay, but she also looked a little flustered at some moments. It's ok, baby Blue!
39. A Day At The Park
Poppa Jay Z lets Blue Ivy have her way with the bouncy horse.
40. It's A Family Affair
Beyonce, Jay and Blue jetsetting in Dublin.
Blue dressed up like a hipster and plays a quick game of peekaboo! How adorable!
42. OMG It's Blue's Beautiful Face!
FINALLY! We get to see how beautiful Blue is! Look at the adorable headband! "Blue 💙"
43. Blue Ivy
Life's a beach!
44. Brooklyn Stand Up!
"Beyonce & Blue"
45. Blue Ivy's Got Her Own iPhone
"Momma, what's your password?"
46. Beyonce's Lazy Day With Blue
"Momma, I asked you for your password!"
47. When Blue Ivy Takes Your Phone, Beyonce Be Like...
"Fine, I'll go ask Daddy!"
48. Blue Ivy On Tour
"Bey & Blue"
49. It's Playtime
Beyonce & Blue take some time out to play.
50. A Chilly Day In NYC
"Beyoncé, Jay Z and Blue Ivy in NYC - Jan. 19"
51. All Bundled Up
The royal family makes their way to their fancy car.
52. Kisses From Dad
Blue's all bundled up, getting love from Daddy.
53. Blue At The White House
Blue Ivy's taking after mommy and writing a letter.
54. Blue Loves Bo
The White House pup, Bo is showing Blue Ivy some love.
55. The Carters At The White House
Check out the royal family checking out the scene at the White House.
56. It's Christmas Time Again
Blue and Bey checking out the White House Christmas tree.
57. Blue Lovin' Bo
Blue Ivy, dressed like a Princess, showing Bo some love.
58. Like Father, Like Daughter
Blue playing dress up with Daddy's hat.
59. Fun Times With Mommy
Blue Ivy spends some QT with mommy.
60. Mommy & Me
Blue and Bey take a break for some snacks.
61. Silvery Blue
Beyonce carries Blue, while the adorable toddler rocks a metallic jacket that we want and need.
62. The Holy Grail
Blue, Bey & Jay
63. One Big Happy Family
"#miami #newyear #2014"
"Beyoncé & Blue 💙"
65. Blue & Daddy In A Blue Jacket
"Jay and Blue 💙 #NewYear #2014 #Miami"
66. Hold On To Me
"Happy New Year Mommy!"
67. Dora Dora Dora The Explorer
"Beyoncé, Blue and Dora the Explorer"
68. Daddy & Bey
"Look over there Blue, you own that too."
69. Blue's Big B-Day
"Mommy make sure they can only see the back of my head."
70. Painted Faces For Blue's Bday
"Let me get down Mommy, I wanna play!"
71. Kisses From Mommy
Beyonce and Blue prepping for Momma Tina's Masquerade Ball
72. Talk To The Hand!
Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy were spotted leaving Joey's restaurant in Miami, on January 8th, and Blue had a message for the paps! Talk to the hand!
73. Me & My Daddy
While Beyonce's arm rested, Jay carried Blue from Joey's restaurant, in Miami on January 8th.
74. Blue's First Words
"I'm ready to slay right along with you, Ma!"
75. Imagine The Sound Of This Lullaby
A newborn Blue Ivy gets serenaded by her superstar mother.
76. Don't Mess With Blue!
Every now and again, Blue Ivy reminds you...she is her father's child!
77. All Gold Everything
Blue Ivy takes after her dad's swag. The inseparable duo were spotted in South Beach, Miami illuminating the streets outside their hotel with their yellow luster!
78. All Of The Lights!
"Mommy! All the pretty colors are so blinding! I'm...just..so..overwhelmed! When's my shot coming?! When's my shot coming?!" Blue plays on set with Bey at her 'Blow' video shoot.
79. Hey Blue!
"I can be happy sometimes, see?"
80. Blue Ivy With Daddy
"Why are we clapping, again? I'm not in the shot."
81. Jay Z Tries To Get Blue To Listen To "Magna Carta Holy Grail"
"Daddy, I'm more of a Nas fan."
82. Stepping With Mom
"Wait, Ma. I want the camera to see all angles of this sick dress!"
83. Splashin' & Playin'
"Mom, this water is clean, right? Because I'm not trying to splash in water I can't trust."
84. Beyonce Discusses Important Matters
"Mommy, I completely get it. Yes, I promise to watch the throne."
85. Mommy's Hugs
"Ok, Ma. I love you to pieces, but I like oxygen too." Bey may be the Queen, but this scene from her video "Blue" makes it look as if she can't get enough of being Mom.
86. Blue Ivy Twirls
"Aaaahh, I'm having so much fun not thinking about anything...wiippeee...oh, wait...getting a little sick."
87. Just So You Know...
"I run things. Don't get it twisted."
88. Mommy & Me Loungin'
"Oh, Mommy, I'm so tired of seeing the wigs you snatched last night all on our floor. It's so exhausting. Like, when're they getting picked up? Not now? Oh. Ok."
89. A Kiss For Blue
"Mommy, let me sleep, dang!"
90. Slurpin' On That Milk...Slurpin' Slurpin' On That Milk
"Mommy, gimme that bottle!"
We could watch this adorable GIF of Blue Ivy nonstop forever!
92. Jay Sneaks In Kisses
"Dadddd! Get..Away!..I don't want...No, ugh..No kisses!"
93. Blue Stares Back...
"Hey! Who's that?!"
94. Blue Still Doesn't Get Why Anyone's Here
"No, really, who are you? You're getting to close."
95. Blue and Bey Out For Lunch
"I'm over this now. People just won't let us be. Mom, why can't we just be?!"
96. Blue Is One Tough Cookie
"Ma, please let me just kick them in the face. Like, please, I can't see through all these lights."
97. Blue Jetsets With Jay
"Dad, do we own this boat? I just figured we owned everything, so..."
98. Beyonce Keeps Blue Covered
"Mommy, I think you forgot my feet. I'm cold right now. Are we inside?"
99. Beyonce LOVES Her Blue
Look at that face, how could you not kiss it?!
100. Blue Swings With Mommy
"I like the swing, this is nice, Mom--Oh, I'll let you pose for that shot."