There is only one Olivia Newton-John, but she’s not going to play herself in the Lifetime biopic Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You. So Delta Goodrem did a great job capturing Newton-John’s essence and recreating famous scenes from her career.
The Lifetime film covers hits like “Grease” and “Let’s Get Physical,” and notables like “Xanadu.” Goodrem spoke to Showbiz Junkies in L.A. last month. Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You premieres on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.
How long did you have to film You’re The One That I Want?
Delta Goodrem: “Actually, we had a whole day at a place called Luna Park in Melbourne. The gentleman who plays Lee Kramer, Todd Lascance, was wonderful. Then you had George who played John Travolta, Allan Carr being the director. It felt like we were transported in time and it felt like something very special to recreate. No matter what, just the fact that I got to go to work and do that, it felt like a full circle. It felt like the five-year-old within me was really, really happy.”
They did a good job making it look just like the carnival.
Delta Goodrem: “Yeah, they did. They really did. Actually, the costumes and wardrobe and hair and makeup and the way that they would set up every era, especially in Grease, we were like, ‘Wow.'”
How about doing the “Hopelessly Devoted To You” scene?
Delta Goodrem: “Oh, I actually asked them could we do another take just to keep singing. ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ and ‘I Honestly Love You’ is one of the first songs I ever sung in my life in front of people. So sitting on the stairs and giving it your absolute all and singing from a place of remembering what inspired you was great. Actually, the whole crew were really invested when we were doing it. Everybody was clapping after every take and we’d get involved and sing it. It was great fun.”
Did you get to do the best scenes from Xanadu?
Delta Goodrem: “Yes, I did. (Singing) ‘A place…’ when we’re walking through in that moment, that’s what I think of. I think of the roller skating, obviously. We start the episode too with roller skating. I wasn’t naturally a good roller skater, I can tell you that. So it took a lot of rehearsing.”
They’re good songs, whatever you think of the movie.
Delta Goodrem: “Yeah, the songs have defined many generations in a sense. The Grease soundtrack was 40 years last year. They have lived on timelessly and continue to spark so much joy and love when people get in a room and start singing all those songs or watching Grease. It leaves a timeless tale.”
Even the Xanadu music.
Delta Goodrem: “I mean, John Farrar doing those songs. The eccentric quirky nature of doing those chord changed, that was, to me, the story of John Farrar himself, like seeing him be a part of Olivia’s life as a friend and then collaborating, that’s magic. That’s real magic.”
What was it like to get in the “Physical” outfit and be on the set of that video?
Delta Goodrem: “That was the first day of filming was ‘Physical.’ When we got in our leotards and everyone was wearing the bands, so every single crew member, when we did Grease at the fair, they all wore the T-Birds jackets. They all wore the headbands so everybody was dressed up and we cranked the music loud. Because I got to sing the whole soundtrack, it did feel like then it got to go into my body even more and I could feel her spirit with me, which was fun.”
Have you gotten involved in Olivia’s cancer organizations too?
Delta Goodrem: “Before I did the film I was involved. Olivia and I did a beautiful song that we wrote together in Byron Bay. One of the ways Olivia and I connected was when I was diagnosed with cancer, she reached out and sent me a beautiful letter about being a survivor and being a thriver. So I think that that bonded us very early on. And then we wrote a song for her album which went to charity when she was doing the great walk. And then sang the song when they were doing the walk. It was, ‘Don’t give up, here I am.’ ‘I’ll Be Right Here With You’ is what it’s called. So we wrote that. Then we’ve been involved in lots of things together like that.”
How about the scenes where you had to explain cancer to a little girl. Were those tough?
Delta Goodrem: “Yeah, absolutely but what I learned was, I feel very thankful to continue to stand as a tower of strength hopefully to people who are in the fight. That’s what we have to remember is that people are going through this every single day. Everyone’s journey’s very different. I think opening that area within you was quite healing to put it to art and put it to another story that people can relate to and understand.”
Was it explained to the young actress what the scene was about?
Delta Goodrem: “I have to tell you, it was the cutest thing ever. She’s so beautiful and I worked with her on another TV show, actually. We had just done this TV show called Househusbands in Australia. She got the hiccups in that very serious scene. And the little munchkin was so cute and would just keep doing the scene. The beautiful director was like, ‘We can stop for the scene.’ She’s like, ‘No, no, no, it’s okay. I want to keep going.’ That’s all I remember when we were doing that scene. It was like she had such a good work ethic even at a young age. She was like, ‘No, keep going.’ She was, again, having that relationship where she’s a very professional young thing. We would talk about it and she was great.”