Me­gan Hilty is Patsy Cline in Life­time’s ‘Patsy & Loretta’

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Tv & Cable Guide -

To be­come Patsy Cline for a ca­ble movie, Me­gan Hilty made a deep dive into the coun­try-mu­sic icon’s life, times and songs.

De­but­ing Satur­day, Oct. 19, Life­time’s made-in­Nashville “Patsy & Loretta” re­counts the friend­ship be­tween Cline and Loretta Lynn (played by Hilty’s fel­low Broad­way vet­eran Jessie Mueller, of “Waitress” and “Beau­ti­ful: The Ca­role King Mu­si­cal”). They were at very dif­fer­ent ca­reer stages when they met, with Cline well-es­tab­lished and Lynn just start­ing out ... and after Cline’s tragic death in a 1963 plane crash, Lynn car­ried the man­tle of ac­com­plished women in coun­try for both of them.

“I nor­mally have a re­ally hard time watch­ing my­self,” friendly “Smash” alum Hilty says, “but with this, I think be­cause I look so dif­fer­ent, I was able to sit back and en­joy it. When they first ap­proached me about it, I said, ‘How much hair is go­ing into the wigs?’ I feel like no mat­ter how good the script and every­thing else is, if you don’t have a good wig, peo­ple are go­ing to be fo­cused on that the en­tire time. And they told me that was a mas­sive pri­or­ity.”

Still, Hilty un­der­stood there was more to the part than the look and “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Walkin’ After Mid­night” are among the Cline clas­sics she ren­ders. “I didn’t re­ally know about her life,” she ad­mits, “and the more re­search I did, the more madly in love I fell with her. I read two dif­fer­ent books, and I did not like one of them very much be­cause it seemed like a lot of gos­sip. Then I read an­other bi­og­ra­phy on her that made sense, and I watched any­thing of her that I could get my hands on; it’s mostly of her per­for­mances and not much pat­ter, so the per­sonal stuff was a lot of guess­work.”

Re­u­nit­ing Hilty with “Smash” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Neil Meron (in his first solo ef­fort after the pass­ing of his long­time pro­duc­ing col­league Craig Zadan), “Patsy & Loretta” was di­rected by some­one who knew its back­ground: Cal­lie Khouri, the Os­car-win­ning “Thelma & Louise” writer who cre­ated and pro­duced the drama se­ries “Nash­ville.” The re­sult, Hilty main­tains, was “the most pleas­ant work­ing ex­pe­ri­ence I’ve ever had. Every­body on that set was le­git­i­mately up­set that it was end­ing, and you dream of hav­ing that kind of en­vi­ron­ment.”

Cline and Lynn’s daugh­ters – re­spec­tively, Julie Fudge and Patsy Lynn Rus­sell – are co-pro­duc­ers of “Patsy & Loretta,” which made Hilty even more de­ter­mined to get her task on the film right. Cline was “a real per­son, with a real legacy to up­hold, and I wanted to be ex­tremely re­spect­ful of that,” Hilty re­flects. “I think the script does her jus­tice.”

Jessie Mueller (left) and Me­gan Hilty

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