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Late last year cable giant Lifetime announced that they would be remaking the 1989 classic ‘Steele Magnolias’. As though that news was not shocking enough, the network also disclosed that the new version of the film would have an all-black cast. Starring Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Adepero Oduye, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott and Condola Rashad, the film will follow six Louisiana women as they experience the ups and downs of life.
Of the remake, Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of Lifetime Entertainment stated,
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.
News of the remake has stirred much debate on the internet. There are those who are thrilled that the film will be told from black women’s perspectives. Then, there are those who are upset that a classic will potentially be ruined.
Adapted from Robert Harling’s stage play of the same name and starring Sally Field and Dolly Parton, ‘Steel Magnolias’ premiered in November 1989. It instantly became a favorite among film lovers and went on to gross more than 95 million dollars at the box office. The film was originally intended to be a short story as Harling attempted to cope with the death of his younger sister, Susan Harling Robinson, a diabetic.
Instead, a full-length play developed. The idea behind the play was to show the strength of women through humor and conversation. Harling wanted to keep the integrity of his family’s ordeal intact, so for the film he cast several of Susan’s actual nurses, doctors and other hospital staff in their real life roles.
The title, ‘Steel Magnolias’, refers to the delicacy of a magnolia flower and the strength of steel. A total oxymoron, it suggests that not all things which are thought to be pretty, but weak, are so. The women in the film prove that when faced with tragedy, they are more than delicate darlings to be admired.
No official release date has been set for the film; however, the network has recently released a trailer to stir excitement among fans.