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Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, Adepero Oduye, Condola Rashad Set For "Steel Magnolias" Remake

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 19, 2012 3:13 PM
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Adepero Oduye

First announced back in October 2011, a remake of the 1989 tear jerker drama set in Louisiana, Steel Magnolias, with an all-African American cast, was in development.

Fast-forward to almost 5 months later, and we have our official cast for the project, announced earlier today:

Queen Latifah (she'll also executive produce) as M'Lynn, Alfre Woodard as Ouiser, Phylicia Rashad as Clairee, Jill Scott as Truvy, Adepero Oduye as Annelle and Rashad’s daughter, Condola Rashad as Shelby. 

If you recall, the original Steel Magnolias starred Sally FieldDolly PartonShirley MacLaine,Darryl HannahOlympia Dukakis, and Julia Roberts.

This all-black reincarnation for Lifetime is set to be directed by Kenny Leon (ABC's A Raisin in The Sun, Broadways' Fences and The Mountaintop), and will be adapted from the 1989 film screenplay by Sally Robinson, to be produced by Craig ZadanNeil Meron and Sony Pictures TV.

Supporting each other through their triumphs and tragedies, they congregate at Truvy’s beauty shop to ponder the mysteries of life and death, husbands and children — and hair and nails — all the important topics that bring women together.

Production begins next month in Atlanta for a premiere later this year.

"The caliber of talent associated with this film is astounding and falls in line with our strategy to make Lifetime a first stop for the industry’s best both in front of and behind the camera... Queen Latifah, Phylicia, Alfre, Jill, Adepero and Condola are some of the most celebrated women in music, film, television and stage — and we could not be more thrilled and honored for them to bring Robert Harling’s poignant story about the strength of women to a whole new generation.,” " said Lifetime’s president and general manager Nancy Dubuc

One person in this group I'm most happiest for is Adepero (photo above), fresh off her acclaimed performance in Dee Rees' Pariah. I guess this will be her next!

Are you looking forward to this? Whether yes or no, what're your reasons?

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  • pat babbs | March 26, 2012 8:44 PMReply

    I would love to go and see this movie cant wait to see what these actress will bring to the screen!!!!!

  • Akelah | March 21, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    Great Cast. Unnecessary remake.

  • checkitout | March 20, 2012 4:55 PMReply

    Rumor has it there's an all white cast remake of the COLOR PURPLE!! Can't wait.

  • checkitout | March 20, 2012 4:54 PMReply

    Rumor has it there's an all white cast remake of the COLOR PURPLE!! Can't wait.

  • CareyCarey | March 20, 2012 6:52 AMReply

    @ Nadine, hello... hello is Debbie Downer there? It's me, Alfred Affirmation. I got your number from a friend over @ S & A. I just wanted to tell you that I understand and share your frustration, so I brought along a friend. That's right, I stopped by the Apolo Theater and picked up the Sandman. He's not that Mack Truck you referred to but he has that loooong cane. Can you hear him screaming in the background? Wait... I'll turn the phone in his direction... " STEEL MAGNOLIAS?!!! Queen Latifah and WHO are doing WHAT... STEEL MAGNOLIAS??!!! Kiss my black ass... NO THEY AIN'T? Somebody tell me I've fallen in a rabbit hole because this can't be true!!! Where is my black cane... I'm snatchin' them B&(%es off the freakin' stage" . Well Debbie Downer, as you can see we're pretty pissed about this. How in the world can black folks cry about separating themselves from the clutches of Hollywood and then turn right around and remake STEEL MAGNOLIAS with an African American cast? STEEL MAGNOLIAS...??? the quintessential crying white chicks movie of all time??!! Well Debbie Downer, we have to go now. We're off to order a few more canes for all the sistahs who are cheering this fiasco, instead of jeering and leering at this Royal F&*&$#.

  • Someone | March 20, 2012 6:20 AMReply


  • Donella | March 19, 2012 5:51 PMReply

    I like the cast, but like others, would have looked forward to an original story.

  • Nina Domingue | March 19, 2012 5:24 PMReply

    As a black actress, seeing this many fierce black actresses on film together is always a reason to celebrate, and honestly given the chance, I'd be running to that set, I can't lie. But I wonder why other works like "Flyin' West" by Pearl Cleague, a story with similar themes, which also started as a play, are not considered by screen writers. Why do we always reincarnate Caucasian works (which were done very well, because they were culturally specific), to "legitimize" Afro-diasporic talent?

  • Geneva Girl | March 19, 2012 5:14 PMReply

    I hope that the remake will be closer to the original stage play which was funnier and *itchier. I preferred the play to the movie which I found to be heartwarming versus sassy.

    I agree with a reader below that we should produce works from our literature. I do like that this will be on television. Perhaps if these types of telemovies get terrific ratings, it will convince Hollywood to make feature films to reach this audience as well.

  • Nadine | March 19, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    Dammit! Why do I have to be the DEBBIE DOWNER!!! There isn't exactly a shortage of literary material for Black ensemble style movies that could feature Black women. Wasn't there that "Bee" movie, too? Why mess, honestly, with perfection. Steel Magnolias was soooo good, why remake it?!?!?!?!?? Have mercy. Should Hollywood remake the Color Purple with an all-White cast? I don't UNDER-STAND. Steel Magnolias... These sisters are setting themselves up to fail (a la the remake of Pollyanna), not to mention there is a separatist-like message in remaking a movie that, yes, featured White women, but was clearly not a movie of exclusion and was universal in its appeal for all women (I'm no opponent of separate viable film industries). This is like going on to American Idol and singing Michael or'll NEVER achieve their greatness. There are sooo many CLASSICS, in literature, worthy to be remade per generation that Black filmmakers have yet to touch even once (except for, of course, The Taming of the Shrew - surprise, surprise). It's like watching your child (Black women) run into the streets to try to get a ball (acceptance) while a mack truck (expectations) comes ROARING down the road. I'm shaking in my boots.

  • misha | March 22, 2012 10:03 AM

    Nadine the only problem I have with your argument is that The Color Purple was essentially a "race film," as it was about black women (people) and their struggles and triumps. Steel Magnolias is moreso a universal film...the characters/actors didn't all *have* to be white. Therefore, this remake is more like any other Hollywood remake with a twist. And of course, the twist here is that it being remade with an all black cast. Anyhow, I too would rather see some of "our" classics adapted to fim. I'd absolutely love to see a film adaptation of any of Octavias Butler's work. How awesome that would be.

  • CareyCarey | March 20, 2012 1:41 PM

    "This is like going on to American Idol and singing Michael or'll NEVER achieve their greatness!" ~Nadine. Nadine, you said it right and that's a good place to start. Listen, even I know that you don't follow Dolly Parton's Truvy. How on earth can Jill Scott go from singing like an angle and owning The #1 Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana to running a beauty parlor in Natchitoches, Louisiana, huh? Something just ain't right about that. And poor Clair Huxatable must have lost that house in Brooklynn Heights and got divorced from Cliff, huh? I should have known something was up when she was living alone in For Colored Girls. But damn, don't go behind Olymphia Dulkakis. And come on Queen Latifah, do you know you're walking in the foot steps of the Freakin' Flying Nun? I know this is acting and you Set It Off as Cleopatra "Cleo" Sims, but you're no M'Lynn. Damn-Damn-DAMN! Somebody call the police because these sistahs are getting set up and stuck up without a gun.

  • BONDGIRL | March 20, 2012 8:21 AM

    @Nadine: My sentiments exactly. They set those ladies up good.

  • mantan | March 19, 2012 5:25 PM

    lol @ you not wanting to be the "debbie downer" but you knocked it out of the park, you sure are passionate against this, lol. but i agree with you though, there's no need to make a black version of anything, especially not this movie. it has a lot of universal themes that cross color lines that any woman could relate to. my personal opinion about this movie is that it's sappy and depressing, i swear women watch this movie just so they can have a good cry.

    anyway, there are so many african american many books about women that could be adapted into movies, anything from toni morrison , zora neale hurston, pearl cleage, paule marshall, edwige it begs the question why remake this movie instead of making an original adaptation.

  • Marissa | March 19, 2012 3:36 PMReply

    Wow this sounds amazing! Finally a great role for Queen Latifah to show her incredibly talent and range as an actress! She really hasn't had one since her SAG/Golden Globe/Emmy winning performance in "Life Support". She should really do more dramatic work because she's terrific! She's doing so well and slamming Halle "has been" Hellberry into the ground. She is the ONLY black a list movie star left.

  • TOBOY | March 19, 2012 5:37 PM


  • Traci R. | March 19, 2012 3:32 PMReply

    OMG! This is the best idea EVER!!! I'm SPEECHLESS. I LOVE the original film so much! Latifah has some MAJOR shoes to fill though in the role originally played by Sally Field (the scene at the cemetery where she breaks down is one of the best performances of American film). I think the idea of Alfre Woodward as Ouiser is an EXCELLENT choice. I would have preferred Phylicia as M'Lynn though...but whatever. I will be ANXIOUSLY awaiting this to premiere. :D

  • LeonRaymond | March 19, 2012 3:31 PMReply

    I feel the cast is strong enough for it to have been a feature film for theatrical. It would be nice if has to be on TV that it would have been on SHOWTIME which is not color fearful the way HBO is right now!

  • Tamara | March 19, 2012 3:23 PMReply

    Yes...yes insomuch that these actresses are quality actresses and I know they'll deliver good-to-great performances. Kinda like those ladies in that was it called? "The Women of Brewster Place". *smile* I hate the Lifetime channel, though. Superfluous info. I know, but... Still, good to see a great cast assembled in what hopefully will be a worthy adaptation...

  • ms.stone | March 19, 2012 3:20 PMReply

    I do not like the idea of a remake perse, because I feel as though we can have our own stories, new stories, but I WILL BE SUPPORTING THE HELL OUT OF THIS. I LOVE ADEPERO! She is amazing! Amazing! Amazing!

  • J | March 19, 2012 3:18 PMReply

    This cast is everything. Yes!!

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