The remake of “Steel Magnolias” is filming today at a private residence beside the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, across the street from Druid Hills Golf Club.
The Lifetime project is being directed by Kenny Leon.
“It’s a very universal story,” he told us during a break in the action today. “Even though we honor the original women, somehow these women have made it worth doing again. It feels like a brand new film.”
The modern version stars Queen Latifah as M’Lynn, the role Sally Field played in the original film. Alfre Woodard plays Ouiser (as Shirley MacLaine did in the original), Phylicia Rashad of plays Clairee (Olympia Dukakis in the original film), Jill Scott as Truvy (Dolly Parton’s former role), Adepero Oduye as Annelle (Daryl Hannah in the original film) and Condola Rashad as Shelby (Julia Roberts in the original film).
“It’s great working with all these women,” Leon said. “It’s pretty special. If you took any one of these women out of this film, it would be different.”
Leon also will direct Phylicia Rashad in a stage production of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” at the Rialto Center this July. (Here’s a link to a story about that project).
“It’s timeless,” Leon said of that project. “I’m careful about the projects I choose.”
The scene being filmed earlier today was the wedding reception scene in which Clairee utters the memorable line, “Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”
In the scene she and Truvy are cattily assessing other guests, including the mayor’s wife whose dancing “looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket.” In a clever bit of modernizing, Truvy notes with horror that the mayor’s wife didn’t even bother putting on her Spanx. (In case Sara Blakely, just named to Time’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, needed more validation!)
Much of the action in “Steel Magnolias” takes place in Truvy’s beauty salon. For this project the salon will be a set constructed in a warehouse. In addition to the Druid Hills home, this rendition will feature hospital scenes shot at Riverdale’s Southern Regional Medical Center (which is also where scenes for the miniseries “Coma” were filmed).
“Steel Magnolias” will wrap on April 28, and is expected to air in September.
“The ultimate message is the preciousness of life,” Leon said. “That never gets old.”
- Jennifer Brett/The Buzzemail@example.com