Kelly Clarkson and Dolly Parton teamed up to record a new version of the Parton classic with Shane McAnally. “9 to 5”As a duet in a upcoming documentary “Still Working 9 to 5,”A premiere was just announced at the South by Southwest Film Festival in February.
The documentary’s premiere at SXSW was announced Wednesday morning, but for the filmmakers, the new recording by Parton and Clarkson counts as a big reveal, too. “We could do a documentary just on the making of the duet,”Gary Lane is co-director/producer. Variety.
This is the updated version of the original theme song “9 to 5”The movie has a distinct tone that is different from the original. “The first iteration, Dolly’s original version was very upbeat. There was a lot of hope I would say in the song,” says co-director/producer Camille Hardman. “And this version is just a little bit melancholic,”She notes, in deference one of the themes of doc “that women are still trying to get equality and it hasn’t happened yet, 42 years after this song was created.”
Parton was originally supposed to perform a new song, but McAnally suggested that Parton do it instead. “9 to 5”The demo was created months later by Parton and Clarkson, who fell in love with its singer-songwriter. Clarkson and Parton recorded their parts November and December. Clarkson also filmed themselves at the studio to record a music video.
“Dolly actually called it ‘9 to 5: The Slow Version’,”Lane. “It’s definitely slowed down and more haunting. Kelly — you can’t believe how she changes it, too. It’s really mind blowing.”He remembers that he played it right after the vocals were done to Steve Summers (VP of Dolly Enterprises) and executive on this film. “Steve said, ‘I’ve probably heard that song a thousand times, and I really never heard the words to the song till I heard them right there.’”
McAnally’s Smack Songs and label, Monument Records, will partner on the rollout for the song, which could come in May; attendees at the four SXSW screenings will get to hear it first
The documentary features interviews with Parton and Jane Fonda, Dabney Cole, Dabney Coleman, and Lily Tomlin. It also includes interviews with actors and creatives who were involved in the 2009 Broadway version of the film, like Megan Hilty or Allison Janney. Rita Moreno, who was a star in an adaptation of a 1980s sitcom, is also featured.
Participants in the original film discuss their goals at that time, which was to deal with serious issues facing women in the workplace. “how do you make a film that is not going to be a hardcore feminist film, that can go out to a wide audience?” Hardman says they walked that same line with this doc, in bringing in ongoing women’s issues.
“It was a very difficult film to make,”Hardman says “because it was the women’s movement in tandem with the fandom of ‘9 to 5’ and all the different iterations and how they overlapped. It was very important to make a documentary that kept that feeling in mind, where they used comedy to tell a very serious story. A documentary is not a comedy, but we wanted to make sure we had a sense of humor in our film, so it was entertaining as well as being educational, because we’re catering to many different audiences.”
Eight Parton songs, some from the Broadway musical and others from her feminist-leaning catalog, were licensed for the film. “Just Because I’m a Woman.”