Dylan Rowen was 9 years old when he decided he wanted to be an actor. Five years later, the high school freshman has appeared in numerous television shows and TV movies.
His latest project, Dolly Parton’s “Christmas Coat of Many Colors: Circle of Love,” premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, on NBC.
Dylan reprises his role of Parton’s brother Denver, which he first played in last year’s “Coat of Many Colors.” Playing Denver Parton has been Dylan’s favorite role.
“It was such an amazing character to play,” Dylan said. “Everyone who worked with me was so nice.”
He’s also a big Dolly Parton fan, so getting to work with her was a dream come true.
“It was like my own personal slice of heaven,” Dylan said. “She brought the whole movie together. She’s a living legend.”
While the first Christmas movie was about Parton’s humble upbringing, the sequel focuses on a devastating event that challenges the Parton family, living in the mountains of Tennessee. A Christmas miracle, however, draws the family closer than ever.
Dylan decided he wanted to pursue acting after watching Chris Farley perform on “Saturday Night Live.” Rather than brush it off as a childhood dream, his father, Erik, started looking for acting opportunities on casting websites.
“My husband just ran with it and tried to find all sorts of different things,” said Dylan’s mother, Stacey.
The audition process is time-consuming. Dylan must memorize scripts — sometimes 10 pages long — then have a coach videotape him for submission.
But his hard work has paid off. Dylan has landed roles in “Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda” and “Olaf’s Quest,” as well as several shorts.
Dylan spent five weeks last year and again this year filming each Dolly Parton movie on a farm in Covington. Watching her child prepare for scenes is special for Stacey Rowen, who is on set every day with her son.
“It’s a lot of preparation for each scene, getting him prepared,” she said. “He’s very self-motivated. If I give him a suggestion, he’ll say, ‘Mom, I’m the actor. I’m not going to do
that. I’m going to do it like this.’ He does it his way, and it turns out better.”
Last year Dylan was in the middle of preparing for his bar mitzvah celebration during filming, so he spent his downtime studying his Torah portion, something that made his mother laugh.
“It was just the irony that we were doing a scene in the church, and he was studying his bar mitzvah,” she said.
Dylan and his family went to Dollywood for the movie’s premiere, and the 14-year-old got to walk the red carpet for the second time. Last year he traveled to Los Angeles for the Parton movie premiere.
“It was very interesting,” Dylan said of walking the red carpet the first time. “I liked it a lot.”
Stacey Rowen said it was a rare experience watching reporters from media outlets, including international media, interviewing her son. “It was wild watching it as a parent, watching him walk the red carpet and all the media in his face,” she said. “It was really cool. It was surreal.”