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Watch 5 1/2 Minutes Of Behind-The-Scenes Footage From All-Black "Steel Magnolias" Set

by Tambay A. Obenson
April 17, 2012 3:30 PM
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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, in currently in production in Altanta, GA.

As already announced, the films cast includes: Queen Latifah (she's also executive producer) 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. 

The original Steel Magnolias starred Sally FieldDolly PartonShirley MacLaineDarryl HannahOlympia Dukakis, and Julia Roberts.

This all-black reincarnation for Lifetime is being directed by Kenny Leon (ABC's A Raisin in The Sun, Broadway's Fences and The Mountaintop), from a script adapted from the 1989 film screenplay by Sally Robinson.

Craig ZadanNeil Meron and Sony Pictures TV all all also producers.

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.

"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

I've actually never seen the original 1989 movie; I really had no interest in it, and still don't. But I'll likely check it out before this all-black version makes it debut, if only to be able to compare/contrast the two.

This is still a project that had me perplexed when I first heard about it last year; I guess I can understand the motivation for Lifetime and the film's producers wanting to make it; but really, aside from the fact that these wonderful actresses get to work and collect paychecks (I'm especially happy to see Adepero Oduye getting another opportunity after Pariah), I'd like to believe that there's something original out there for all of them to star in. And if not, Latifah should be in a position to commission a script based on an original idea/concept.

Ah well... so it goes...

Watch the behind-the-scenes footage video below:

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  • Tami Sawyer | April 19, 2012 5:53 PMReply

    I don't see anything wrong with the remake. It's a classic film that a lot of Black women love. Me included. I think Phylicia Rashad should have been M'Lynn though and Queen Latifah could have been Trudi and Jill Scott Clairee.

  • kye | April 18, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    This will be an original for me because it's starring people that I can relate to. Whiteywood re-wrote History many many years ago, so there's nothing wrong with an all black cast doing it their way. It's all entertainment a the end of the day, and if your not interested, don't watch it.

  • vdub | April 18, 2012 4:44 AMReply

    OKAY. ENOUGH ALREADY! what is the deal with the increasing number of 'all black versions of..." since directors, actors looking for projects, screenwriters looking for pieces to adapt to the screen, and anyone else who is making movies these days seems to have a hard time finding sources, might i suggest: Dianne McKinney Whetstone's , "Tempest Rising" and "Tumbling"; Pearl Cleage's "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day" , "I Wish I Had a Red Dress," and "Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do";Michael Datcher's "Raising Fences"; Gloria Naylor's "Mama Day", "Bailey's Cafe", and "Linden Hills"; Alice Walker's "The Temple of My Familiar";Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon", "Paradise", "Tar Baby"; August Wilson's "Jitney", "Seven Guitars", "Gem of the Ocean", (his whole canon); Ntozake Shange's "Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo"; Bebe Moore Campbell's Your Blues Aint Like Mine and "What You Owe Me"; Tina McElroy Ansa's, "Baby of the Family" and "The Hand I Fan With". These are all fiction. I won't even begin a list of biographies that need to be brought to the screen...did i hear someone say Paul Robeson and Lorraine Hansberry?? OH, one more wonderful book, Virginia Hamilton's "The Magical Adventures of Pretty Pearl". oh and by the way, when you make films of these books/plays; be sure that they are excellent! thank you

  • Kesha Afrika | April 18, 2012 12:24 AMReply

    1. Having performed in an all-black version of Steel Magnolias, I must say that I enjoyed our version more than the original. There were layers that were exposed simply because of cultural references that have no meaning in the white community. Some were actor/director choices. Others just lept off of the pages of the script. One of my favorites: "Pink is my signature color..." followed by a raised pinky infers Shelby's membership in a popular black sorority. It also therefore, automatically gives insight into her character based on the viewer's own preconceived notions about the organization. Another: When M'Lynn, who has a lighter complexion says, "Peach is flattering on every skin tone..." to her brown-skinned daughter, it has centuries-old implications. The understanding of the characters goes just a little deeper.
    2. I HATED the Wizard of Oz. Loved The Wiz on stage (my first live theatre experience) and on screen. I loved the social commentary. Always seemed much deeper than the Wizard of Oz. That green witch still creeps me out.
    3. For those who seem to be concerned about "them" taking "your" stories-- Four words: LIZ TAYLOR AS CLEOPATRA.

  • Marissa | April 18, 2012 12:13 AMReply

    I didn't see the original movie, but I will probably watch it before this one is released just for comparisons sake. I like that they have put together such a great cast for this remake. Queen Latifah is a great actress!

  • Orville | April 18, 2012 12:05 AMReply

    I think this is a terrible idea can't Hollywood think of anything original? I remember Gabrielle Union and Cedric the Entertainer starred in the remake of the Honeymooners. The Honeymooners black remake was a flop! I imagine this movie is going to get a lot of negative press.

  • will | April 17, 2012 10:57 PMReply

    You saw what they did with
    the wizard of oz!
    I'm still having nightmares from
    that piece of crap.

  • Mark & Darla | April 17, 2012 10:32 PMReply

    Why Lord why. When they go make 'Fried Green Tomatoes'.

  • Akimbo | April 17, 2012 6:45 PMReply

    First time I'll watch a Lifetime movie on purpose. I can't wait to see Alfre as Ouiser. That's going to be hilarious.

  • Darkan | April 17, 2012 6:02 PMReply

    I totally agree with you Tambay. They could've easily wrote something else that the black community could consider their own. I mean what's the point? Trying to get better marketing? How would that be possible when many black woman could barely relate to the first version and white woman could care less about the plight of black women unless they are the savior in the film. What a waste.

  • Ali | April 17, 2012 6:08 PM

    Black women could barely relate? I don't know where you're from but I know plenty of women that could relate perfectly to these women and loved the movie.

  • LeonRaymond | April 17, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    I got nothing against a re-make , I just think the cast is and has enough wattage that the project merited a Theatrical release, I mean when the other (Original was made) many of those actors were just cutting their teeth in film. I am not going to get into color or race, I am talking talent that merits a theatrical release. Maybe it will get enough eyes on a Cable Network showing, I don't know, but these women deserve more of a mainstream viewing, But hey mine is only a small opinion, and they are doing a Black version of STREET CAR NAMED DESIRE, and I always and still felt Marlon Brando is untouchable. But if folks want then that is what makes projects happen!

  • misha | April 17, 2012 5:18 PMReply

    Steel Magnolias is one of my favorites and while I can't say I'm particularly excited about a "black remake," (can I get a film adaptation of Octavia's Butler' "Kindred," please?) I'm still interested in seeing how this will turn out.

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