Hold on to your hats (and very big wigs), folks, because Lifetime TV has got some big news coming our way. The network, famous for it’s schmaltzy Lifetime TV Movies, has announced that it is producing a made-for-tv movie remake of Steel Magnolias! And, not only that, but that the remake will feature an all African-American cast! Want the deets? Read on below.
Steel Magnolias, the popular Off-Broadway and regional comedy-drama about wisecracking Louisiana women whose favorite emotion is laughter through tears, will get a second film treatment more than 20 years after the story was adapted for Hollywood. Deadline.com reported that the title — known as a 1987 play and a 1989 film, both written by Robert Harling — will be freshly adapted for a cast of yet-to-be announced African-American actresses for a TV film on the Lifetime network. Broadway, film and TV producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are behind the project. The first film starred Julia Roberts as a new bride, Shelby, whose mother, M’Lynn, played by Sally Field, frequents a beauty shop where friends — played by Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton, Darryl Hannah and Shirley MacLaine — squabble, joke and bond as tragedy befalls their circle. Harling drew on his own family history for the play. Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment will partner with Sony Pictures TV for the telepic. Kenny Leon (director of Broadway’s current The Mountaintop) will direct … The new “Steel Magnolias” will be written by Sally Robinson, who will reportedly draw on the Harling screenplay. The Off-Broadway production of the play ran 1,126 performances at the Lucille Lortel Theatre 1987-90. Pamela Berlin directed. A separate production had a short life on Broadway in 2005.
Casting for the new TV movie, which will be set in present day, not in the 1980s, begins immediately.
HMMMM … I’m not sure how I feel about this. Granted, Steel Magnolias did start out originally as a play … so any remake or redux of the story shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise to anyone. But the 1989 film is SO iconic that some of us (me included) may have a hard time envisioning a new version of the story. I do love that this new Lifetime made-for-TV movie will feature an African-American cast … that alone is enough to make this new project sound interesting to me. Altho I’m not all that interested in a Steel Magnolias remake, I am curious to see how this new TV movie will turn out. What do y’all think? Is this good news or very, very bad news?