What are the odds? A set of identical twin brothers — both phenomenal-looking, both gay and both ardent fans of singer Dolly Parton. In fact, Gary and Larry Lane, the brothers who fit this description, are so dedicated to Parton that they trekked across the country in an RV named Jolene just to give her a script they wrote with her in mind!

Born and raised in conservative Goldsboro, N.C., the Lanes consider being identical twins a special gift that has opened many doors for them. Their unique bond became practically indispensable as they came of age and began to realize their sexual preferences. Despite fearing the loss of that closeness if the other did not understand or approve, they came out to one another at the same time, when they were 17.

“And it was a great support system,” Larry Lane says. If there were any regrets connected with that decision, he says, it would be that they hadn’t told one another earlier so that they would not have felt as much isolation.

“Growing up Southern Baptist, you can feel pretty alone when you are realizing that you don’t fit the mold as most of the other people around you,” he said. “But after we told each other, we were able to keep each other strong for years.” This included when, at age 25, they jointly told their parents.

When it came time to strike out on their own, they headed up to the Big Apple, where Ben Stiller soon cast them as rap star Lil’ Kim’s matching bodyguards in his film Zoolander. They later realized that California was the place they needed to be to pursue successful careers in show biz, and they relocated again, this time to Los Angeles. Other roles followed in such box-office powerhouses as Spider-Man and The Patriot.

The brothers have also competed as teammates on two of television’s most challenging shows, and they won the contests both times. They won $50,000 on each one — first on NBC’s Fear Factor, then on ABC’s Wipeout. The key to being such an amazing team, they said, was that each offers the other an equal amount of support and pushing in the competition.

As for their latest endeavor, the documentary Hollywood to Dollywood, Gary says, “We grew up listening to Dolly’s music and always thought she was an amazing person.”

“She hit our radar in 1983 with ‘Islands in the Stream,’ Larry said. “Our parents loved her and played that song thousands of times! We also watched Dolly on TV, and when she was asked about her huge gay fan base, she always said, ‘A fan is a fan — gay, straight, black, white, I love everyone. I’m not God; I don’t judge.’ Those things stuck with us, and only made us admire her more!”

Parton’s warmth and empathy made the two yearn to work with her.

“We knew we wanted to write a project for her and be able to work on a set with her,” Gary said.

Big dreams for sure, but these guys have a way of turning their dreams into reality. Their script, titled Full Circle is based on their upbringing, and there was a part written just for Parton.

“We finished it, printed it, and sent it off to Dolly’s management,” Gary recalls. It was sent back — unopened — the following week.

“We were crushed,” Larry interjects, “but then we started seeing info that the following May was going to be Dollywood’s big 25th anniversary.”

Hearing that their idol was planning to appear as part of the Pigeon Forge, Tenn., theme park’s silver anniversary celebration, they concocted the idea of delivering their script to her in person. Moreover, whether the trip was successful or not, filming it from beginning to end would serve as a record of their experience. Hollywood to Dollywood, the award-winning documentary, was born!

“There was over 45 hours of footage that has been cut into 79 minutes, so our director/editor John Lavin did an amazing job!” Gary said.

Larry adds, “John is also from Tennessee, and we have been blessed to play there three times already.”

In fact, it will be screening there again April 21 at the Nashville Film Festival and on the same night in Los Angeles as part of that city’s First Glance Film Festival. One brother is set to host the California screening, while the other will be on hand in Tennessee.

What the Lanes learned from their adventure is how essential it is to chase after your dreams and be true to who you are, and be proud of both!

An incident featured in the final cut gave them this insight and inspired them to broaden their initial intentions for the project. At a roadside rest stop, they met a husband and wife who prayed with them for everyone’s safe travels. Afterward, though, aware that they had deliberately downplayed their same-sex orientation for fear of offending the couple, “We felt like we had misled them,” Gary acknowledges.

They decided to change their mindset and actually seek others like themselves — particularly in the Deep South — and include their stories as well. These are some of the most moving and hopeful moments in the film.

The brothers’ documentary has gone on to be an overwhelming audience favorite wherever it’s been shown – in places as varied as Edmonton, Canada; Glasgow, Scotland; and Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

“We have now played in more straight-themed film festivals than LGBT ones, and those straight ones are mostly where we are winning the Best Documentary awards,” Gary says, noting that at many of those festivals, theirs has been the only gay-themed film entered. “I think it has a lot to do with everyone’s love for Dolly. She just brings all different types of people together.”

Backed by 15 of Parton’s most evocative songs, the magic and majesty of the movie is in the way it touches on things that everyone, on some level, can identify with.

“You just can’t find anyone in the world that can say a bad thing about Dolly Parton,” Gary said. “I feel with the film, we are paying tribute to one of the most amazing ladies of our time!”

Hearing this, Larry smiles. “We’ve continually heard Dolly talk about being in Hollywood and wanting to knock off that H and put a big D up there.” At least as far as these brothers’ riveting and poignantly honest documentary is concerned, they did just that!

For more information on Gary and Larry Lane as well as their film Hollywood to Dollywood go to www.lanetwins.com or www.Hollywoodtodollywood.com.
The KCGayFilmFest will present HOLLYWOOD TO DOLLYWOOD as the next Castro Movie NIght on May 10th at 7:00pm at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport. Proceeds from Castro Movie Nights the benefit the Good Samartian Project. Learn more at www.KCGayFilmFest.com

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