Patsy’s Life Turned Into Movie
Patsy Cline‘s life story has always been a source of intrigue. In her short time on this Earth, she managed to establish herself as one of the biggest stars in country music. But her quest to stardom wasn’t without trials.
Those trials and Cline’s story play out in the 1985 biographical film, Sweet Dreams. The film was a smash success, due in large part to the stellar performance from lead actress Jessica Lange. Her portrayal of Cline was highly-praised, and earned her an Academy Award nomination.
The film balances Cline’s whirlwind career with her equally chaotic personal life. It opens during the early days of her career, when she was still singing in small venues and was married to a man named Gerald Cline, who she eventually divorced. The film then follows her relationship with and marriage to her second husband, Charlie Dick. After marrying Dick, Cline is finally able to chase her dreams. But her newfound success gives her a greater sense of confidence that ends up placing a strain on her marriage.
Viewers were glued to the screen as they saw Cline’s dramatic story unfold. Today, Sweet Dreams is one of the most popular films to ever be released about a country music artist.
As popular as the movie is, we bet there’s a few facts about it that you don’t know!
1. It Was Originally Titled Something Else
According to the movie’s IMDb page, Sweet Dreams was originally titled after another one of Cline’s songs. At first, the filmmakers were calling the film “I Fall to Pieces,” which was Cline’s first single to ever hit number one on the charts.
Somewhere along the way, the filmmakers made the choice to change the title to “Sweet Dreams,” which was also a big hit for Cline. Although it was scrapped as the title, “I Fall to Pieces” was still included on the film’s official soundtrack.
2. The Same Producer Worked On Coal Miner’s Daughter
Coal Miner’s Daughter, the film about Loretta Lynn‘s life story, was released five years prior to Sweet Dreams. Both films contain Cline as a character, but they share a stronger connection than most are aware of.
It turns out that the same producer worked on both Coal Miner’s Daughter and Sweet Dreams. Named Bernard Schwartz, he helped set the standard for country music biopics with his two incredible films. You’ve likely watched some of his other material as well, since he produced numerous other films such as St. Elmo’s Fire and Psycho II.
3. References To Lynn Were Taken Out Of The Script
Since the same producer worked on Coal Miner’s Daughter and Sweet Dreams, you would think that Lynn would have been referenced in the latter. After all, Lynn and Cline were good friends and their relationship was a huge part of their lives.
While there were references to Lynn in the Sweet Dreams script originally, they were eventually taken out. The producers decided that their friendship had been explained well enough in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and decided to switch focus elsewhere.
4. The Soundtrack Is Cline’s Original Vocals
When creating a musical biopic, filmmakers are left with a tough choice. Do they have their lead actors sing their characters’ real-life songs, or do they have them lip sync original recordings?
In the case of Coal Miner’s Daughter, lead actress Sissy Spacek decided to sing all of Lynn’s songs herself. But for Sweet Dreams, the filmmakers had Lange lip sync to Cline’s original vocals. While the soundtrack contains actual recordings of Cline singing, the tracks were remastered and dubbed over new instrumental parts.
To bring things full circle, Cline’s original producer Owen Bradley served as the producer for the Sweet Dreams soundtrack.
5. Scenes At Fort Bragg Were Filmed Somewhere Else Entirely
In Sweet Dreams, Dick ends up getting drafted into the Army. The film depicts him as being stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Few people realize that all of the scenes set at the Army post in Fort Bragg were actually filmed elsewhere. Those shots were filmed at For Campbell, Kentucky instead. Bet you never noticed that before!
6. Another Actress Really Wanted To Play Cline
Just a few years after winning her first Academy Award for her role in Kramer vs. Kramer, actress Meryl Streep had her hopes set on playing the lead role in Sweet Dreams. Despite her strong desire to play the part, the director turned her down in favor of Lange.
In the end, choosing Lange seemed to have been the right choice. Even Steep has praised her performance in interviews, saying, “I couldn’t imagine doing it as well or even coming close to what Jessica did, because she was so amazing in it.”
7. Lange Is Nothing Like Cline
Oftentimes, actors are drawn to roles because the characters remind them of themselves in some way. But that was not the case for Lange and her role as Cline in Sweet Dreams.
During an October 1985 interview with The New York Times, Lange confessed that she was nothing like Cline. Regardless, she found herself drawn to Cline’s personality since it was so different from her own.
”There was nothing hidden or neurotic or withheld,” Lange said. ”Those are great qualities. Something I never played before. Tremendous ranges in emotion that last 30 to 40 seconds. Nothing harbored. Like a firecracker going off all the time. I felt that at this time in my life it was a good exercise as a person to play this character.”
Since her role as Cline is still one of the most-praised performances of her career, we’d say that Lange’s feelings were spot on.