Dolly Parton is bringing some Christmas cheer this year thanks to a new holiday Hallmark movie being filmed at Dollywood next month. Christmas at Dollywood will be a marquee event during the Hallmark Channel's annual Countdown to Christmas event, which kicks off on Oct. 25 and ends on New Year's Day.
The new movie will star The Wonder Years actress Danica McKellar, who has also appeared in Crown for Christmas, Christmas at Grand Valley and other Hallmark Channel movies, reports Rolling Stone. McKellar's son Draco McKellar Verta and her mother, Mahaila, will have cameos.
McKellar will play Rachel Lewis, a single mother and Broadway producer whose friend calls her to Tennessee to produce the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival's 20th-anniversary show at Dollywood. Lewis and her daughter Amy head to the festival to work with Dollywood entertainment director Luke Hakman, and they butt heads over what the festival should look like.
"I grew up watching Dolly Parton on TV. I love her. She is everything. I got to meet her -- she is charismatic and gorgeous and lovely, and she's the best person ever," McKellar told Entertainment Tonight about the new project. "I'm so excited that I get to work with her."
McKellar teased "a lot of really fun Dolly surprises" for Parton's longtime fans.
"Dolly Parton is a bright light who is rich in spirit, kindness and love," Michelle Vicary, Executive VP of Programming and Publicity at Crown Media Family Networks, said in a statement. "Christmas at Dollywood features Danica McKellar in a story about finding love and new beginnings in the most familiar place: home. A holiday movie set in a winter wonderland like Dollywood exemplifies the quality of the talent, storytelling and filmmaking that has made Countdown to Christmas the No. 1 program event on television for 10 years."
Although Parton, 73, has been behind several holiday specials during her career, this is only the second time she worked with Hallmark. In 2010, they worked together on a Dollywood 25th anniversary special.
Parton has also recorded several Christmas albums. She also produced the Christmas specials Coat of Many Colors, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, and appeared in A Country Christmas Story, Dollywood's A Christmas Carol and A Smoky Mountain Christmas.
Hallmark will air a whopping 40 Christmas movies during the 2019 season.
In other Parton news, the country music legend announced last month she is teaming up with licensing company IMG to launch a new lifestyle brand.
"We just started that with the IMG company world branding, and so we're going to be starting now with all sorts of things with my brand ... perfumes, cosmetics, wigs, housewares, whatever," she told USA Today. "You know, they're great at what they do, so they do ... research on what people would like to see certain artists do."
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