Gay Southern twin’s road to “Dollywood” is paved with emotions and prejudice by Kevin M. Thomas

Gary and Larry Lane along with Dolly Parton

Gary and Larry Lane along with Dolly Parton

I have made a new friend. Well, not a real life friend yet but steps better than a Facebook friend.

Gary Lane truly shows his southern charm when we chatted about the movie “Hollywood to Dollywood” which played at this year’s OutFest in Los Angeles and will play next year at San Francisco’s Frameline LGBT film festival. It actually will be screening at over 20 film festivals this year and eight of them are not gay film festivals.

lanetwins2Gary, along with his equally cute twin brother Larry, are the subject of the documentary about two gay brothers who wrote a script for their idol Dolly Parton and hop on their RV named Jolene to try to get their script to Dolly when she made an appearance at Dollywood’s anniversary.

The movie keeps your attention as the brothers discuss their strategy about how they are going to get the script in Dolly’s hands, even one of the opportunities is to throw it on stage while she’s performing.  It’s also a hoot to watch them in the back of the RV trimming their script so its closer to two hours as when they leave Hollywood, it’s more of an epic and seem to have scared off everyone who saw the size of it. (The script that is.) Better yet, to watch the two brothers approach Leslie Jordan about also being in the movie or to see the brothers befriend and enlist the help of Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black to help suggest cuts in the film is priceless.

But the movie’s soul is with the gay Southern Baptist twins themselves as they try to get their family acceptance of their gay lifestyle.  And then to see the other southern men they meet along the journey who also have  been turned away or disowned by their families because they were gay can break your heart. It makes me so thankful that my sweet mother has been accepting of me ever since I came out.

Since seeing the movie, I’ve checked Dolly on IMDB and see no notice of the Lane brothers movie being a future project for her. “She does know of us and her people know us too,’ Gary says, “and it still could happen especially since with Lance’s help we were able to present her with a script that’s under two hours.”

And whether they won her over with their true Southern charm,  Dolly will likely always remember meeting them and taking their script as it was given to her with a bird house replica of her old Tennessee mountain home, made by Gary’s partner Michael Bowen, who seems to have made a name for himself with creative and intricate bird houses ( Gary said Michael made Dolly a second bird house when they presented her with their revised and shorter script.


Birdhouse replica of Dolly Parton's mansion

While both Gary and Larry and the film’s exploration of the perils of  being a gay Southern Baptists gives the film heart, Gary is reluctant to take a lot of the credit. He attributes the film’s success to its Dolly loving director John Lavin. Perhaps he’ll take more credit should their movie “Full Circle” get made and starring  Dolly Parton.

Until then, Dolly gave them the the rights to use 15 of her songs and at least until July of next year so they will definitely be in San Francisco with Frameline.

“We’re so excited about coming back to San Francisco and checking out Castro,” Gary says, explaining the two other times they were in San Francisco was for ad campaigns needing twins.  They even met San Francisco famous twins, Marian and Vivian Brown.. “After we left them, i said, good lord, that’s us in 50 years,” says Gary.

Learn more about the film and follow it around the country until it comes to San Francisco next June by going to