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Queen Latifah laughs about putting Dolly Parton in headlock

Jenna Milly is a screenwriter. She co-created the TBS microseries "Gillian in Georgia." She earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Sh...

Two legends make Joyful Noise

Spreading a little Joyful Noise, Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah talk faith, family and finding a groove in today’s tough economic times.

"It's has always been important, especially in this day and time with the economy," singer and actress Dolly Parton says of focusing on faith and family — a message her new musical comedy Joyful Noise sings loud and clear.

That, co-star Queen Latifah says, was part of the reason she took the role, and of course, because she got to put Dolly Parton in a headlock.

Queen Latifah headlocks Dolly Parton!

"It was awesome!" Latifah says of the scene where she and Parton get into a food fight. Dolly laughs. She obviously had fun, too. Latifah headlocks Parton and tries to rip out her hair during a fight scene. "Yeah, the hair feels really cool, everybody. It's really good hair, it just kind of mostly stayed in place," says Latifah of Parton's hair. The country singer is known for wearing wigs. "I said, 'What am I gonna do to beat this hair up?,'" Latifah says.

"I can bite, I can pinch, I can hit her," jokes Parton.

"You see those nails?" Latifah asks, "Edward Scissorhands, just like we said in the movie."

They could go on for hours about how much fun it was to film Joyful Noise, and SheKnows could sit with them forever. Parton is just as adorable in person as she is on screen, and Latifah is just as much of a force as one could ever imagine. Sigh. To have only had five minutes with the lovely ladies when there were so many questions to ask… Joyful Noise 2, anyone?

The film comes out Jan. 13 and also stars Broadway singer Jeremy Jordan, veteran character actor Kris Kristofferson (Dolphin TaleBlade) and Courtney B. Vance (The CloserLaw & Order) as Pastor Dale.

Putting family first in tough times

The country music legend plays G.G. Sparrow, a Southern choir singer, who butts heads with director Vi Rose Hill, played by Queen Latifah, in the film about giving a small town down-on-its-luck something to dream about — winning the national choir competition.

Based on the real life competition called "How Sweet the Sound," Joyful Noise takes a comedic look at how one church organizes friends, family and faith to get to the nationals.

Chiming in on Parton's sentiment, Queen Latifah agrees it's important to focus on family relationships during these tough times. Her character has a rather troubled relationship with her daughter in the film, played by co-star Keke Palmer. Latifah recalled memories of her adolescence in order to get into character. "I wanted to make it as honest as possible so that people could connect with it," she says.

Speaking of one scene in particular where she and Parker face off, Latifah says, "I thought about myself at 17 and what my mom and I went through and how we overcame our challenges." Their disagreement over pride and respect is one of the best moments of the film.

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