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Queen Latifah leads Kenny Leon’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ cast

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Casting has been announced for the adaption of the 1989 film “Steel Magnolias” that Atlantan Kenny Leon is to direct for the cable network Lifetime featuring African-American actresses.

Queen Latifah will play M’Lynn, the role Sally Field had in the original movie, in the remake, which will film starting in April in Atlanta. Also in the cast: Alfre Woodard as Ouiser (originally played by Shirley MacClaine); Phylicia Rashad as Clairee (Olympia Dukakis in the original); singer Jill Scott as Truvy, the Dolly Parton role; Adepero Oduye as Annelle, the Daryl Hannah part; Condola Rashad as Shelby, the role that helped cement Julia Roberts’ star; and Afemo Omilami as Drum Eatenton (Tom Skerritt in the original). 

Condola Rashad, Phylicia’s daughter, recently starred in the Leon-directed Broadway production of “Stick Fly,” and received some the show’s stronger notices. She also has a recurring role on NBC’s “Smash.”

Like the hit film, the update will be set in Louisiana and will explore the bond among a group of strong, Southern-accented women. Sally Robinson’s new script is based on the play and screenplay by Robert Harling.

Lifetime plans to air the TV movie later this year.

The remake is being produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron of Storyline Entertainment and Sony Pictures TV. Leon directed Storyline and Sony Pictures TV’s previous collaboration, the 2008 ABC movie “A Raisin in the Sun.”

For his Atlanta troupe True Colors Theatre Company, Leon also will direct a stage version of “Guess Who’s Coming  to Dinner” at the Rialto Center for the Performing Arts, July 10-29. Information: www.truecolorstheatre.org.

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