Jewel ‘Transforms Into’ June Carter Cash For ‘Ring Of Fire’ Biopic

"It was really important for me to transform into June," said Jewel. "I wanted to make sure to avoid people turning on the TV and asking, 'Why is Jewel wearing a brown wig?'"

When it comes to portrayals of the late country legend June Carter Cash, can Jewel stand up to Reese Witherspoon?

The latter won an Oscar for her turn in the 2005 film Walk the Line. On Monday night, folk-pop songwriter Jewel steps into the role when the June Carter biopic Ring of Fire debuts on Lifetime.

Ring of Fire is based on the book Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash, written by John Carter Cash, the son of June and her late husband Johnny Cash. The film also stars Matt Ross (American Horror Story, Big Love) as Johnny, Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as June’s mother Maybelle Carter, and John Doe of punk band X as A.P. Carter, June’s uncle. The film was directed by Allison Anders.

Matt Ross and Jewel in "Ring of Fire"

Matt Ross and Jewel in “Ring of Fire” (photo courtesy Lifetime)

Maybelle and A.P. (along with Sara Carter) were the three founding members of pioneering country group the Carter Family, who first recorded in 1927. June and her sisters Helen and Anita recorded with the Carter Family as kids, and later toured with Maybelle as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters.

Ring of Fire follows June from her Carter Family days on up to her marriage to Johnny Cash, including her battle to get him back on the straight and narrow.

During a screening of Ring of Fire in L.A. this week, Jewel said she was aware of the challenges in the role, since she would be ultimately compared to Reese’s award-winning turn as June eight years earlier. She also said that being a musician herself didn’t help matters. In fact, she admitted, “It was hardest for me to stay in character when I was singing. I even had a hard time clapping in time.”

Jewel elaborated on how she developed her character during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

“[June’s] singing style was quite different from mine,” Jewel explained. “I did a lot of studying of her voice and her body and her mannerisms, her posture. I studied her at every age, and I read everything I could find on her. It was really important for me to transform into June because I am a famous singer in my own right, and I wanted to make sure to avoid people turning on the TV and asking, ‘Why is Jewel wearing a brown wig?’ I needed to be able to disappear into June, and make people forget about me as a singer and get tucked away into the story of her.”

Ring of Fire premieres Monday, May 27 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.

–  Kurt Wolff,

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