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The High-Tech Way The Orville Filmed Dolly Parton's Cameo

"Star Trek" fans have no shortage of content to enjoy these days. There's a plethora of series based on the iconic franchise you can watch at a moment's notice. Whether you prefer something quiet and contemplative like "Star Trek: Picard" or want something a bit wackier like "Star Trek: Lower Decks," there's something for everyone. There are even shows that aren't part of the franchise but sure feel close to it, and that's where "The Orville" comes into play. 

The series may not take place in the "Star Trek" universe, but it's clear where it pays homage. All the usual "Star Trek" markings are there, from unique alien species to even a version of the Holodeck. The latter factored into the most recent episode, "Midnight Blue," when Heveena (Rena Owen) sought guidance when facing a personal quandary. There to give her advice was a computerized version of Dolly Parton, played by the real Dolly Parton, of course. It's a fun celebrity cameo that's par the course for something related to Seth MacFarlane, but what's even more interesting is how the cameo came together. 

The two actresses were filmed on opposite sides of the country

Normally, when two actors film a scene together, they're in the same room, but thanks to modern technology, they can shoot their scenes in entirely different places while they're edited together seamlessly. That was the case with "The Orville," which appropriately used the latest technology to make it seem like Heveena and Dolly Parton were sitting directly across from one another. 

Seth MacFarlane took to Twitter to explain, "Fun fact: Dolly and her side of the cabin were filmed in Nashville, while Heveena's side was filmed in L.A. Thanks to director @joncassar, director of photography Jeff Mygatt, prod. designer Stephen Lineweaver, and the talents of @DollyParton and @RenaOwen, you'd never know it!" It makes sense going back to watch the scene. The two actresses are filmed completely separate from one another and don't physically interact. They merely had to build replica sets so that the transition came across as seamless, and voila! Hollywood magic. 

But while they may not have met during the scene, they did apparently meet in person eventually. One person pointed out how Dolly Parton posted on Instagram a photo of the two of them together, along with the question, "Wait, but Dolly posted this pic, I'm so confused, did @RenaOwen travel to Nashville for Dolly?" Fortunately, a response came from director Jon Cassar: "Yes she did."