Krew Boylan on Dolly Up to End Up in “Seriously Red”
Acting is a way for Red (Krew Boylan) to let off steam in ‘Seriously Red’, heading to the local pub to sing Dolly Parton hits after the grueling job of spending his days trying to sell houses as an agent. immovable. It might be fun for her, but she got good enough to pass for the real thing after covering her strawberry locks with Dolly’s blonde curls, quoting her jokes as scripture, and being able to play percussion until ‘9 to 5’ using only his long fingernails, so it’s no surprise after being scouted by someone (Celeste Barber) who professionally deals with celebrity impersonators that Red might start considering another life for herself upon discovering there’s an opening on the tour – after all, there’s no way Kenny Rogers (Daniel Webber) can handle the ‘Diamonds in the Stream’ duet on his own.
Yet, as powerful as Red may feel slipping into Parton’s uniquely big personality, there’s only so far one can go in acting like someone else as his writer and star Boylan might have felt before. devote herself to the film, which she has spent the past decade before its famous premiere at South By Southwest this week. A light-hearted comedy at first glance, “Seriously Red” lingers longer than the many laughs it inspires when Boylan considers that it often takes trying on a number of different personalities before finding your own identity in the midst of a world of fake celebrities. If it’s a lonely road for Red, however, it’s less so for Boylan, who was able to draw strength from the group of strong Australian women who lined up behind her, director Gracie Otto, producer Jessica Carrera and eight-year-old Rose Byrne drove from Atlanta to Nashville to undertake the even more daunting task of securing the rights to the songs in Parton’s catalog. (The collaboration was so strong that the quartet and “Babyteeth” director Shannon Murphy formed production company Dollhouse Pictures.)
Both funny and poignant, the time it took “Seriously Red” to hit the screen was clearly worth it and following its premiere in Austin, Boylan spoke of the emotional release she had while watching it. finally presenting to the world, the film’s outrageous and invigorating cosmetic touches and getting something authentic out of all the impersonation.
How did all this crazy stuff happen?
I wanted to do something that I could do and throw myself. This is my first screenplay and I like to write to understand something, so I wanted to understand why I wanted success and what did it look and feel like? And I landed with my answer, which to me is Dolly Parton. She’s an obviously talented singer/songwriter and comedian, but a businesswoman and she looks like her, but she “thinks like a man and looks like a woman” – all those amazing quotes she’s said over the years years. That’s how I started my journey diving into Dolly and [figuring out] how does she navigate life and her career and is she the success she is.
What was the actual transformation into Dolly like?
We really wanted to focus on her journey of dressing up as Dolly and being Dolly. She’s like the not-so-good Dolly at first with the wrong wigs and weird, funny outfits, the more she immerses herself in being someone else and tries to perfect that. Then Dolly becomes more beautiful and looks more like Dolly, who is an angel, but there is [still] lots of crazy wigs and outfits. Tim Chapel, our costume designer, is amazing. He just did “The Masked Singer” and he came on board and just exploded, because in movies you don’t often explode creatively if you’re in costume. That’s a lot of jeans and t-shirts [that] it may be the period, but everything is quite restrained, but he is incredibly creative. And Cassie Hanlon, who did all the hair, makeup and wigs, looks a lot like Tim – they both worked together on ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’, and they were a great team bringing together all the different looks and the Dollies.
As a performer, you have audiences for certain concert scenes and those sets are so alive. Did the environments help you get into this role?
It really was. And we had such a cool set of impersonators and extras that were really giving and they’re performers too, so they really felt like part of the family. I say that because sometimes you do jobs and the extras are really separated from the actors or the action, but with that, it was just like a big, tight little family with just big hair and crazy costumes and weird and wonderful ideas and we definitely fed everyone’s energy because making a film is a collaboration for sure.
There are some wild storylines that made me wonder, were there any situations on set where you were like, “What did I write myself into?”
Not really. One of the first moments was that we were chilling between takes and Rose [Byrne] was sitting there like this kind of fat Elvis, scrolling his phone and I looked through it and I was like, ‘What have I done? She looks hilarious. I love making him do that to a certain extent because it was so funny. But I think it’s not worth it if you’re not you, especially in art [when] you want to show off, you want to break your own boundaries, and you want to be vulnerable. You can’t necessarily control how it lands, but it’s worth pushing for me as an artist.
I almost don’t want to spoil a gag, but it’s so subtle it can slip away – what was it like having Dannii Minogue among the impersonators, playing herself?
I could not. [laughs] I was so amazed when she came on set, I was like, “Is she there? Is she here?” She’s such a cool chick and it was such a beautiful time for us to have her because she had to fly. It wasn’t like, “Oh yeah, I’ll pass.” C she’s such a good sportswoman and of course Kylie, her sister, lent her some music. We really wanted to get both of their essence in there, and Dannii Minogue was stuck with Mimi Minogue, a Kylie Minogue impersonator who’s a very famous woman who dressed up as Kylie for years and is friends with the Minogue family so they knew each other and that was cool I was so dazzled and [Dannii’s] so beautiful and kind, and she’s such a great sport. It was absolutely our honor that she came and did this with us.
Is there something that happened that maybe you didn’t expect, but is now in the movie that you really love?
Charges. I’m such an actor, so all the little moments where I’m like, “Oh, it was just such a good thing in the moment just doing this scene,” whether it’s Celeste or Bobby [Cannavale, who plays Red’s manager] or pink [Byrne] or Daniel [Webber] or tom [Campbell, who plays Red’s co-worker Francis] – this cool cast that we have, all the little nuances that I’ve always really loved. But what I didn’t anticipate was that writing this story about wanting to succeed is the catharsis of filming this story would be enough. Because when you think of success, you think of money or fame or consequences, and what surprised me [after] I finished filming it, I said to myself: “Huh. Alright, that’s good. Everything that comes after will be just a blessing If two people see the film or if thousands [do]it will just be a blessing because the catharsis of filming this story filled me.
How’s it feel to get to the premiere after working on it for almost a decade?
It’s so wonderful. Last night was such a highlight of all of our hard work and years of trying to do it, hustling and filming. It all came together last night. It was so positive. You have to celebrate the little things, but you also have to celebrate the big things and last night was big. And I really feel like part of this festival is so much about reconnecting and finding joy. Because in the face of the crises unfolding in the world, we must also experience joy in remembering that we are human and that we can all get out of it.
“Seriously Red” will be screened at SXSW March 18 at 8 p.m. at the Stateside Theatre.