All-African-American ‘Steel Magnolias’ Movie Set for Lifetime Channel
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. Leon helmed the 2008 TV movie version of the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, which he also directed on the stage.
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.