‘Patsy & Loretta’ gal-pals movie with Megan Hilty & Jessie Mueller on Lifetime, Oct. 19

Megan Hilty as Patsy Cline and Jessie Mueller as Loretta Lynn in Lifetime’s “Patsy & Loretta.” (photo credit: Jake Giles Netter/Lifetime)

American’s heartland music just got the spotlight in Ken Burns’ Country Music series for PBS. Now the Lifetime channel is presenting the movie Patsy & Loretta about two incredible country legends. The movie stars Megan Hilty (Broadway’s Wicked, NBC’s Smash) as Patsy Cline and Jessie Mueller (Tony-winner for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) as Loretta Lynn.

 It’s the touching story behind the true friendship of the music icons. They first met when Patsy Cline was already one of the biggest stars in country music, recovering from a serious car crash. She was in the hospital listening to the radio when she heard a real down-home newcomer say, “I want to sing this song for Patsy Cline. She’s in the hospital. I love her and I just love her singin’.” When the song ended, Cline told her husband to go find Lynn.

 Loretta Lynn was just a coal miner’s daughter, starting off with nothing but a $17 guitar. But instead of seeing Loretta as competition, Patsy took Loretta under her wing to help her make it in Nashville. They became best friends immediately, touring together, bonding over their husband troubles.  The friendship was too short because in 1963, tragedy struck when at just age 30, Patsy died in a plane crash.

 The Lifetime movie for A+E Networks filmed in Nashville, and it is helmed by award-winning director Callie Khouri, with Neil Meron (Oscar-winner with the late Craig Zadan for Chicago) as executive producer. Co-producers are Loretta Lynn’s daughter Pasty Lynn Russell and Patsy Cline’s daughter Julie Fudge, who offered a lot of input for the script by Angelina Burnett.

(l. to r.) Megan Hilty stars as Patsy Cline and Jessie Mueller stars as Loretta Lynn in Lifetime’s “Patsy & Loretta.” (photo credit: Jake Giles Netter/Lifetime)

 The film underscores that Patsy and Loretta were complete opposites in many ways. That’s what director Callie Khouri (who wrote Thelma & Louise and created the TV series Nashville) enjoyed about this story. “I love telling stories about women that are different and still find a way to have a friendship that is deep and lasting. Those kind of friendships help women kind of draw on each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses,” Khouri said.

 Patsy Cline’s big hits that crossed over into pop music are all sung by Megan Hilty in the film. “I grew up knowing ‘Crazy,’ ‘Walking After Midnight,’ and her other songs. They’re lyrically driven, which is why the songs touched so many people,” explained Hilty who is remarkable at capturing Patsy Cline’s iconic voice and styling.

 There’s a lot of singing in the movie that’s a treasure trove of Patsy and Loretta’s songs. Jessie Mueller said it was “a total joy” to sing Loretta’s songs, “They were so groundbreaking. Patsy and Loretta were doing songs that were about things that mattered to them. People related to what they were singing about.”

 At the Television Critics Association’s Summer 2019 press tour, Rob Sharenow, president of programming at A+E Networks, proudly bragged, “I’m told that Loretta Lynn herself has seen the movie and loved it.”

 Patsy & Loretta” premieres Saturday, October 19 at 8 pm on Lifetime. Tune in.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.