By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com October 12 2011 10:29 AM ET
Steel Magnolias, that infinitely quotable 1989 comedy-tearjerker, will be remade for Lifetime with an all black cast by prolific producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who describe the story as a parable to the gay community.
Steel Magnolias, based on the play by Robert Harling, was inspired by the death of Harling's sister. The play and subsequent film that starred Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, and an all-star cast, focuses on the bond of a group of women in the small Southern town.
"We believe the movie is about community...and it's a community of all types who fit together by a commonality of family," says Meron. "Very much like the gay community. We think that there are a lot of elements that gay viewers can relate to, with these ladies hanging together, growing together and dealing with the eccentricities of life and the strength they must face when there is a death among them at such an early age."
"Neil and I love Robert Harling's great characters and witty/poignant dialogue and Sally Robinson has done a great job adapting Robert's work while still maintaining the beauty of his words," Zadan offers. "We think that by casting it with an all-black cast we will have most remarkable actresses playing remarkable roles. It will give it a fresh perspective and a new life. Our last TV movie was A Raisin in the Sun and that was one of our proudest achievements and we are working with Kenny Leon again, who is a remarkable director."
No casting has yet been announced. Meron and Zadan, who have a number of modern classics on their résumé including Hairspray and the Oscar-winning Chicago, will soon have another remake in theaters. Their update of 1984's Footloose opens this Friday.