Queen Latifah is set to star in a TV movie adaptation of “Steel Magnolias,” it was announced Monday.
Lifetime is planning a contemporary version of the 1989 film that helped launch Julia Roberts into super stardom and cemented Sally Field’s status as one of the best cryers in the make-believe business.
Latifah has signed on to play the role of M’Lynn in the tale of the triumphs and tragedies of six Southern belles from a small Louisiana town.
The all-star cast of the update also includes Emmy-winner Alfre Woodard as Ouiser, Tony-winner Phylicia Rashad as Clairee, Grammy-winner Jill Scott as Truvy, Adepero Oduye as Annelle and Condola Rashad as Shelby.
Latifah will also serve as executive producer, along with her “Chicago” producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (who also produce Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” and NBC’s “Smash”).
Production will begin in April in Atlanta, with a debut planned for 2012.
With each of the characters in the classic ’80s tear-jerker (based on the famous play) played with steely, over-the-top perfection, the new crew has some memorable melodrama to live up to — and they seem up for the challenge.
“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 Lifetime president Nancy Dubuc in a statement.
Here’s the trailer for the film “Steel Magnolias,” which featured some southern-fried sass from the likes of Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton.