via press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 19, 2012) – Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner and Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah has signed on to star in and executive produce the Lifetime Original Movie Event, Steel Magnolias, a television adaptation of the iconic play and 1989 film of the same name, reuniting her with her producing duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, from the Oscar and Golden Globe winning Chicago and Hairspray. (Zadan and Meron also produce Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva and Smash.) She will take on the role of ‘M’Lynn’ and star alongside an all-star cast that includes Golden Globe and multiple Emmy-winner Alfre Woodard as ‘Ouiser,’ Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad as ‘Clairee,’ Grammy winner Jill Scott as ‘Truvy,’ Adepero Oduye as ‘Annelle’ and Condola Rashad as ‘Shelby.’ The announcement was made today by Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager of Lifetime Networks.
Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Steel Magnolias will be executive produced by Zadan, Meron, Latifah, Shakim Compere (Single Ladies) and Shelby Stone. Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) is set to direct the script that has been adapted for television by Sally Robinson (Iron Jawed Angels) and is based on the play and screenplay by Robert Harling (The First Wives Club). Steel Magnolias is also a reunion for Zadan, Meron, Rashad and Leon, who last worked together on the critically acclaimed Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Sony TV movie A Raisin in the Sun, which won numerous NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding TV Movie, Miniseries, or Dramatic Special and Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries, or Dramatic Special for Phylicia Rashad.
In an updated contemporary version, Steel Magnolias chronicles the lives and friendship of six women in Louisiana. 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 will commence this April in Atlanta, for a debut in 2012 on Lifetime.
“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 Dubuc.
“It is an honor for us to be revisiting the classic Sony film Steel Magnolias under the creative auspices of our producing partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the acclaimed director Kenny Leon and a team of brilliant actors including Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Alfre Woodard and Jill Scott,” said Helen Verno, Executive Vice President of Movies and Miniseries, Sony Pictures Television.
Queen Latifah is an actress, singer and recording actress who has amassed a wide range of accolades, including a Golden Globe Award, two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, two NAACP Image Awards and a Grammy Award. She’s also received six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination. Her film credits include the role of the feisty warden ‘Matron “Mama” Morton’ in Chicago, for which she received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. She also starred in Hairspray, The Secret Lives of Bees, Beauty Shop and Joyful Noise. For television, Queen Latifah’s role as an HIV-positive woman in Life Support earned her a Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and NAACP Image Award, as well as an Emmy nomination. Her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, she runs with partner Shakim Compere.
Acclaimed stage and television director, Kenny Leon’s Broadway credits include the Tony Award-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun in 2004 starring Sean P. Diddy Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald. He then reunited with this cast in 2008 to direct the television version of A Raisin in the Sun which aired on ABC. Leon was nominated for a Tony Award in 2010 for Best Director for his work on August Wilson’s Fences starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, earning them both Tony nominations and wins. In 2011, Leon directed the Broadway premiere of The Mountaintop, starring Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as Stick Fly, which was produced by Alicia Keys and stars Dule Hill, Mekhi Phifer and Condola Rashad.
Alfre Woodard’s work as an actor has earned her an Oscar® nomination for her performance in Cross Creek and an Independent Spirit Award and Golden Globe nomination for her work in John Sayles’ Passion Fish. Her extensive film credits include Grand Canyon, Heart and Souls, Crooklyn, Star Trek: First Contact, Down in the Delta, Love & Basketball, Something New, American Violet, What’s Cooking, Beauty Shop, and The Family That Preys. For television, Woodard has starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Piano Lesson and the Showtime film Holiday Heart, which earned her a Golden Globe. A four-time Emmy® winner, Woodard has taken home the award for her work in such series as The Practice, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law, as well as the television movie Miss Evers’ Boys. Woodard also appeared as Betty Applewhite on the ABC drama Desperate Housewives. Most recently, Woodard garnered her 17th Emmy nomination in the role of Ruby Jean Reynolds, mother to Lafayette Reynolds, on HBO’s True Blood. Her other recent work includes the CBS medical drama Three Rivers, and on TNT’s Memphis Beat.
Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad is best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. In 2004, Rashad became the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. She reprised that role for the 2008 television adaptation featuring Sean P. Diddy Combs, earning her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special. Rashad’s Broadway credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Dream Girls, The Wiz and Into The Woods. Her television credits include Everybody Hates Chris and Psych. Most recently, Rashad was cast as one of the leads in an NBC pilot entitled Do No Harm which she is currently shooting. In 2010, she was featured in the film, For Colored Girls, and appeared in the Tyler Perry film Good Deeds that was released earlier this year. Additionally, she stars opposite Christopher Walken, John Turturro and Sharon Stone in Gods Behaving Badly, which is scheduled to be released later this year.
Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best selling poet, and critically acclaimed actress are only a few titles held by Jill Scott. Named People Magazine's Top TV Breakout Star of 2010, Scott has been featured in every major magazine across Vogue, Instyle and Elle Magazine. Before having her recent album, The Light Of The Sun become the #1 record in the country and performing at The White House, the triple threat began her career collaborating with musical icons, Will Smith, The Roots and Common in the late 90s. With a background in musical theatre, Scott started her career as part of the Canadian cast of Rent, and has gone on to grow her true multimedia brand across books, clothing, TV and film. Her television credits include the lead role in the HBO/BBC miniseries filmed on location in Botswana, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, a Peabody Award-winning show directed by the late Academy Award-winning director Anthony Minghella. Additionally, she appeared in Showtime's Cavedweller and LMN's Sins of The Mother, for which she earned an NAACP Image Award and was the second–most watched premiere in the network’s history. In features, Scott has appeared in Hounddog, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?
Adepero Oduye most recently recieved Independent Spirit and NAACP Image award nominations for Best Actress on behalf of her work in Dee Rees’ Pariah. Oduye also had the honor of being on the cover of Vanity Fair’s recent “Hollywood Issue.” Born in Nigeria, Oduye hails from Brooklyn and is a graduate of Cornell University. Other shorts she starred in include Gabriele Zamparini’s Water, Rusell Costanzo’s The Tested and Nadiah Hamzah’s Sub Rosa. Oduye’s theatre credits include Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed, The Bluest Eye and Fela. She has made guest appearances on such television programs as Louie, Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Actress Condola Rashad recently was seen in the Broadway family drama, Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys and directed by Kenny Leon. Rashad played 18-year-old Cheryl, the daughter of a maid to an affluent black family. She received rave reviews for her New York City theatre debut back in 2009, playing ‘Sophie’ in the Off-Broadway show Ruined. Currently, Rashad can be seen in a recurring role in Smash alongside Katherine McPhee and Debra Messing and will soon be seen in the upcoming romantic comedy titled 30 Beats out in June 2012. She graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2008 and currently resides in New York.