Review of "Steel Magnolias" on Lifetime From The TV MegaSite

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Steel Magnolias

"Steel Magnolias" review by Suzanne
Premieres Sunday, October 7 on Lifetime

I know I saw the original movie, but I don't remember it. It was too long ago! This movie is really good, whether the saw the old one or not. The actors are fabulous, and the script is very good. Even though it's almost an all-African-American cast, it's fairly color blind.

Queen Latifah is the star as M'Lynn, but she shares most of the movie equally with veteran actresses Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, and Jill Scott. The younger ladies are played by Condola Rashad (She is so beautiful - great eyes!) and Adepero Oduye.  There are some male characters who play their husbands, boyfriends, etc. but they are not seen nearly as much.

The characters were so great, and likable, and complex, that it made me wish this were a series. I want to know more about these people and their lives. Maybe we'll get lucky and Lifetime will turn it into a series the way they did "The Client List"?

The story is very basic. M'Lynn's daughter, Shelby, gets married, but she has diabetes and kidney problems. M'lynn's friends are always there to support her through some major ordeals. Truvy (Scott) owns the hair salon where they all congregate. The story is not really as important here, though, as the performances and character development.

LadiesWhat's great about the movie is that you don't often see, even today, years after the Cosby Show, much insight into real middle class African-American life. I mean, they have middle-class characters on cable shows like BET a lot, but they are comedies and not very realistic. Most of the African-American people we see on TV dramas and comedies are just part of an ensemble cast, and we usually only see them at work, and we don't see much of their personal lives (or they only show criminals). I hope we get to see more movies like this one.

You really don't want to miss this one!

When they sent me the disk to review this show, there was a letter written by Queen Latifah, who produced along with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

-The three of us have had the privilege of working together on the movies of Chicago and Hairspray and we decided to find a third special project we could collaborate on. We believe we have found it with this new film version of Robert Harlin's beloved, "Steel Magnolias".  This heartwarming story of friendship between a group of women in a Southern community gave us the opportunity to attract a dream team of extraordinary actresses: Alfree Woodward, Jill Scott, Phylicia Rashad, Adepero Oduye and Condola Rashad. We were also fortunate to bring on board acclaimed director Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun).  We are very proud of this film, which will have its broadcast premiere on Sunday October 7, at 9pm on Lifetime, and we wanted to give you an early look. We hope you enjoy viewing it as much as we did making it.

More Information:


Film Executive Produced By Award Winning Duo CRAIG ZADAN and NEIL MERON QUEEN LATIFAH, SHAKIM COMPERE and SHELBY STONE Also Executive Produce Film Directed By KENNY LEON

LOS ANGELES, CA (August 27, 2012) – 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. 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,’ Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad as ‘Shelby,’ with Grammy winner Jill Scott as ‘Truvy’ and Golden Globe and multiple Emmy®- winner Alfre Woodard as ‘Ouiser,’

Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Steel Magnolias is executive produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere (Single Ladies) and Shelby Stone. Leon directs from a script that has been adapted for television by Sally Robinson (Iron Jawed Angels) and is based on the play and screenplay by Robert Harling (The First Wives Club). Steel Magnolias is also a reunion for Zadan, Meron, Rashad and Leon, who last worked together on the critically acclaimed Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Sony TV movie A Raisin in the Sun, which won numerous NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding TV Movie, Miniseries, or Dramatic Special and Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries, or Dramatic Special for Phylicia Rashad.

In an updated contemporary version of the beloved stage play and 1989 film, 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.

Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry’s leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment around the world and for every platform: broadcast and cable television, first-run and off- network syndication and digital distribution. In addition to one of the industry’s largest libraries of feature films and television shows, SPT boasts a current program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms.

Internationally, SPT produces 6,000+ hours of programming annually in over 70 countries. SPT is a leader in local language productions, some of which are co-produced with local partners, and sells SPE-owned formats around the world. To better serve its clients and partners worldwide, SPT maintains offices throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, the People’s Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Venezuela and the United Kingdom. SPT's worldwide television networks portfolio is a key strategy in SPE's long-range commitment to the global marketplace, with 120 channel feeds, which are available in 159 countries reaching more than 543 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE’s premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns Dutch entertainment company 2waytraffic, production company Embassy Row and Sony Movie Channel, and is a part owner of cable channel GSN, new 3D channel 3net, FEARnet, the premier horror/thriller website and VOD service, and national media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT’s syndicated series as well as in all of SPE's digital businesses in the United States. SPT is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.  

Lifetime Television is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information
programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. The
network posted major growth in viewership among the key demographics in Second Quarter
2012 versus Second Quarter 2011, posting a 13% jump among Women 18-49, +5% among
Adults 18-49 and +1% in Women 25-54. Additionally, among Women 18-49, Lifetime marked
the network’s strongest 2Q growth in 10 years. Lifetime Television®, LMN®, Lifetime Real
Women® and Lifetime Digital™ are part of Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC, a subsidiary
of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a joint venture of the Disney-ABC Television Group and
Hearst Corporation.


Queen Latifah is an actress, singer and recording artist who has amassed a wide range of accolades, including a Golden Globe® Award, two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, two NAACP Image Awards and a Grammy® Award. She’s also received six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy® Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination.

Her film credits include the role of the feisty warden ‘Matron “Mama” Morton’ in Chicago, for which she received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. She also starred in Hairspray, The Secret Lives of Bees, Beauty Shop and Joyful Noise. For television, Queen Latifah’s role as an HIV-positive woman in Life Support earned her a Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and NAACP Image Award, as well as an Emmy nomination. Her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, she runs with partner Shakim Compere. 


Alfre Woodard’s work as an actor has earned her an Oscar® nomination for her performance in Cross Creek and an Independent Spirit Award and Golden Globe® nomination for her work in John Sayles’ Passion Fish. Her extensive film credits include Grand Canyon, Heart and Souls, Crooklyn, Star Trek: First Contact, Down in the Delta, Love & Basketball, Something New, American Violet, What’s Cooking, Beauty Shop, and The Family That Preys. For television, Woodard has starred in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Piano Lesson and the Showtime film Holiday Heart, which earned her a Golden Globe.

A four-time Emmy® winner, Woodard has taken home the award for her work in such series as The Practice, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law, as well as the television movie Miss Evers’ Boys. Woodard also appeared as Betty Applewhite on the ABC drama Desperate Housewives. Most recently, Woodard garnered her 17th Emmy nomination in the role of Ruby Jean Reynolds, mother to Lafayette Reynolds, on HBO’s True Blood. Her other recent work includes the CBS medical drama Three Rivers, and on TNT’s Memphis Beat.


Tony® Award winner Phylicia Rashad is best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom, The Cosby Show. In 2004, Rashad became the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her role in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. She reprised that role for the 2008 television adaptation featuring Sean P. Diddy Combs, earning her an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special. Rashad’s Broadway credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Dream Girls, The Wiz and Into The Woods. Her television credits include Everybody Hates Chris and Psych. Currently, Rashad is filming the upcoming NBC series, Do No Harm. In 2010, she was featured in the film, For Colored Girls, and appeared in the Tyler Perry film Good Deeds that was released earlier this year. Additionally, she stars opposite Christopher Walken, John Turturro and Sharon Stone in Gods Behaving Badly, which is scheduled to be released later this year.


Three-time Grammy® Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best selling poet, and critically acclaimed actress are only a few titles held by Jill Scott. Named People Magazine's Top TV Breakout Star of 2010, Scott has been featured in every major magazine across Vogue, InStyle and Elle Magazine. Before having her recent album, The Light Of The Sun become the #1 record in the country and performing at The White House, the triple threat began her career collaborating with musical icons, Will Smith, The Roots and Common in the late 90s. With a background in musical theatre, Scott started her career as part of the Canadian cast of Rent, and has gone on to grow her true multimedia brand across books, clothing, TV and film.

Her television credits include the lead role in the HBO/BBC miniseries filmed on location in Botswana, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, a Peabody Award-winning show directed by the late Academy Award- winning director Anthony Minghella. Additionally, she appeared in Showtime's Cavedweller and LMN's Sins of The Mother, for which she earned an NAACP Image Award and was the second–most watched premiere in the network’s history. In features, Scott has appeared in Hounddog, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?


Adepero Oduye most recently received Independent Spirit and NAACP Image award nominations for Best Actress on behalf of her work in Dee Rees’ Pariah. Oduye also had the honor of being on the cover of Vanity Fair’s recent “Hollywood Issue.”

Born in Nigeria, Oduye hails from Brooklyn and is a graduate of Cornell University. Other shorts she starred in include Gabriele Zamparini’s Water, Rusell Costanzo’s The Tested and Nadiah Hamzah’s Sub Rosa. Oduye’s theatre credits include Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed, The Bluest Eye and Fela.

She has made guest appearances on such television programs as Louie, Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.


Actress Condola Rashad recently was seen in the Broadway family drama, Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys and directed by Kenny Leon. She received a Tony® Award nomination for her role as 18-year-old Cheryl, the daughter of a maid to an affluent black family.

Rashad also garnered rave reviews for her New York City theatre debut in 2009, playing ‘Sophie’ in the Off- Broadway show Ruined. Currently, Rashad can be seen in a recurring role in Smash alongside Katherine McPhee and Debra Messing and will soon be seen in the upcoming romantic comedy titled 30 Beats out in June 2012.

She graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2008 and currently resides in New York.


Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are producers for stage and screen. Their feature films, television, and theater projects have garnered a total of six Academy Awards®, five Golden Globes®, 11 Emmy® Awards, two Peabody® Awards, a Grammy® Award, and two Tony® Awards.

Their motion pictures include: Chicago, Hairspray, The Bucket List and Footloose. They are currently producing with Steven Spielberg the new NBC television drama, Smash for NBC. Their television projects, (which have accrued 73 Emmy nominations), include: Gypsy, Cinderella, Annie, The Music Man, Life With Judy Garland, Martin & Lewis, Serving In Silence, The Beach Boys, Brian’s Song, The Three Stooges, The Reagans, A Raisin In The Sun, the new African American version of Steel Magnolias, plus the hit TV series Drop Dead Diva. They will also be producing the 85th Academy Awards live telecast, airing in 2013.

On Broadway, they recently produced the Tony winning How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette and the Tony winning Promises, Promises starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.


Kenny Leon, considered the premiere director on Broadway, has brought together a stellar cast for this new version of Steel Magnolias. His Broadway credits include his Tony® Award-winning revival of A Raisin in the Sun in 2004 starring Sean P. Diddy Combs, Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald. He reunited with the cast in 2008 to direct the television adaptation which aired on ABC and earned him a Best Director nomination by the DGA, Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominations and three NAACP Image® Award wins.

His 2010 follow up with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starring in August Wilson’s Fences garnered 10 Tony Nominations including Best Director and won Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor and Best Actress. In 2011, he became the first African-American director to have concurrent shows on Broadway with The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett; and Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys and starring Dule Hill, Mekhi Phifer and Condola Rashad.

Kenny recently completed the adaptation of Steel Magnolias starring Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott for Lifetime and Sony Pictures Television.


Born in Dothan, Alabama, and settled with his family in Natchitoches, Louisiana when he was twelve. Upon his graduation Tulane Law School, rather than take the bar exam, he opted to become an actor in New York. After years of productive work as an actor in voice-overs and commercials, Harling was inspired to write the highly acclaimed stage play, Steel Magnolias, which was based on events from his family.

Immediately bridging a career from stage to screen, Harling adapted his original play into the popular film of the same title which starred Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah. Over the years, Harling has become a much sought after screenwriter: other credits include Soapdish, with Kevin Kline and Robert Downey, Jr.; and the highly successful First Wives Club for Paramount Pictures starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton.

Harling made his directorial debut with The Evening Star for Paramount, which he also wrote for the screen based on Larry McMurtry’s novel, reuniting Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson. In 2004, Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore filmed his screenplay of Laws Of Attraction.

Harling is currently working an original voodoo musical set in post-Katrina New Orleans, he has created the ABC series GCB – adapting the film Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day into a stage musical -- and he is writing a play set in his Louisiana home entitled The Strangers Room.


A Golden Globe® and Humanitas ® recipient, Sally Robinson was honored by PEN USA for her work on the Emmy® nominated Iron Jawed Angels. She is currently writing a feature for UK’s Green Gaia Films based on Susan Ronald’s historical novel Shakespeare’s Daughter.”

Partnered with author Russell Banks, she will executive produce the upcoming film, Rule of The Bone written and directed by Debra Granik. In musical theater, she recently collaborated with composer David Foster and director Terry Johnson on Max Fleischer’s Betty Boop. Prior to her writing/producing career in television and film, she taught literature at the University of Cincinnati and is also a published short story writer.

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