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The long awaited and heavily anticipated remake of Steel Magnolias, with an African-American cast, aired on Lifetime on Sunday, October 7, 2012. This modern adaptation re-told a classic story from an African-American perspective.
Steel Magnolias is a heartwarming story of love, strength and friendships that prove to be unbreakable even in the face of tragedy. Kenny Leon directed this all-star cast of seasoned actresses and was successful painting a modern and soulful version of a timeless classic.
Queen Latifah executive produced and starred as the matriarch of the family, M’Lynn, originally made famous by Sally Field in 1989. Latifah gave a brilliant and standout performance and proved that she has come of age as an actress.
Two veteran actresses, Alfré Woodard and Phylicia Rashad, paid homage to the original script by giving life to the characters, Quiser and Clairee. Woodard and Rashad were able to play off each other’s experience and talent to deliver strong performances that pushed the story forward.
Musical poetess, Jill Scott, revived the role of Truvy. It was in Truvy’s hair salon where the ensemble dished, cried, held each other up and built a familial bond.
There were two newcomers to the screen, Condola Rashad and Adepero Oduye. Rashad brought softness to the character of Shelby while Oduye was fresh, flighty and doe-eyed as Annelle.
Along with this great cast and crew came controversy and opposition. Steel Magnolias almost met its demise before it could make its debut.
A week before Steel Magnolia’s scheduled premiere, Victoria White, an executive producer from the 1989 film filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures Television, Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC and A&E Television Networks, LLC in order to prevent the movie from airing.
According to court documents obtained by the Hollywood Reporter, the law suit stated that White is entitled to receive compensation totaling $15,000.00 and screen credit of “co-producer” or “co-executive producer” for any all remakes or redistribution of Steel Magnolias. The law suit claims White was not contacted prior to this remake in order to make proper arrangements for her to receive credit and compensation. The court documents claim that a Television Agreement had been drafted and signed between White and Rastar Productions, Inc. (now owned by Sony Television Pictures) prior to the 1989 release of the motion picture Steel Magnolias.
The case went before a Los Angeles judge on Friday, October 5, 2012, just days before the premiere. The judge ruled and dismissed the injunction to prevent the movie from airing.