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COVER STORY: STEEL MAGNOLIAS : Wiles Magazine

COVER STORY: STEEL MAGNOLIAS

By Teryl Warren

 

Photo Credit: Annette Brown

It’s not easy to remake a classic as beloved as Steel Magnolias, but with an all-star cast including major award winners and rising stars, Lifetime is attempting to do just that.

The world-premiere of the highly anticipated Lifetime Original Movie Event, Steel Magnolias, is set to debut Sunday, October 7 at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

Golden Globe® and Grammy® Award winner and Academy Award® nominee Queen Latifah stars in and executive produces the film, a television adaptation of the iconic play and 1989 film of the same name, reuniting her with producing duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, from the Oscar and Golden Globe winning Chicago and Hairspray.

Photo Credit: Annette Brown

Directed by Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun), the film will feature Queen Latifah taking on the role of ‘M’Lynn’ and starring alongside Tony® Award winner Phylicia Rashad as ‘Clairee,’ Independent Spirit Award nominee Adepero Oduye as ‘Annelle,’ with Grammy winner Jill Scott as ‘Truvy’ and Golden Globe and multiple Emmy®-winner Alfre Woodard as ‘Ouiser,’

We recently spoke with Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad, who stepped into the shoes of ‘Shelby’- a role made famous by a young Julia Roberts – to find out what it was like to breathe new life into this heartwarming timeless tale.

“Personally, I think [this version] is only different because different actors are telling the story in the year 2012, but the actual story is still the same,” she told us. “The story is universal. It doesn’t matter what cultural background the women are from. Laughter, pain, triumph, and perseverance are all universal themes.”

Photo Credit: Annette Brown

Steel Magnolias chronicles the lives and friendship of six women in Louisiana. Supporting each other through their triumphs and tragedies, they congregate at Truvy’s beauty shop to ponder the mysteries of life and death, husbands and children – and hair and nails – all the important topics that truly unite and celebrate women.

For a young actress like Rashad, stepping onto a set filled with legends could have been an extremely daunting task. But, as she shared with us, she and her cast mates – which included her famous mother – created a working environment that was, much like Truvy’s beauty shop, friendly, fun, and filled with laughter.

“I must admit I was really intimidated when we started the process because I was working with such legends but then I started to relax a little more,” she said.  “Working with my mother was also a new experience, and at first I wasn’t sure how to do it. I felt like I needed to watch my language and make sure I sat up straight. But it ended up being really, really fun and kind of a bonding experience. Queen Latifah is awesome! Ms. Alfre is a joy! Adepero is like a sister! Jill is the jam!”

Photo Credit: Annette Brown

Through the character of ‘Shelby,’ audiences will experience the complete spectrum of roles that most women play in life: as a daughter, a wife, a friend and a mother. As the most junior member of the cast, Condola’s character will assuredly resonate with younger female audience members, and she hopes they’ll particularly connect with what she describes as ‘Shelby’s’ “courageous soul.”

“Shelby is a young woman who has dealt with many obstacles but has always found a way to get what she wants, and has always found a way to be the person she wants to be,” she said. “She is fearless, yet tender, confident, yet in need of reassurance…I love …her hunger for life, no matter what the cost.”

 

For more information about the film and other upcoming programming on Lifetime, please visit: www.mylifetime.com.

 

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