Steel Magnolias: A Timeless Story with Inspiring Women
1989 was a big year for me. Not only was it the year I became a woman (think chubby girl with big bangs and a love for florescent green on her Bat Mitzah day), but it was the year some of the best movies of all time... Field of Dreams, When Harry Met Sally, Say Anything, Dead Poets Society, and Steel Magnolias...
Steel Magnolias is a movie that every woman knows and loves. It's a timeless chick flick with strong characters, relationships and messages. When I heard that Lifetime was premiering a television adaptation of the award-winning play, I jumped at the opportunity to attend a small tea and discussion with Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah, and Jill Scott (just three of the members of this tremendous cast). 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."
In this updated contemporary version, 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. While the storyline and characters are the same as the original film (and Broadway play), the producers and writers made a few subtle changes to be concurrent with today's world and language. Since 1989, there have been many innovations in medicine with Diabetes- so there will be some changes with regards to Annelle's battle with that disease. Music-- music has certainly changed and so has dance moves! We'll see some fun additions and changes in that department. And, of course, social media... there were a few fun lines thrown in to make the film feel current and relevant.
Sitting in a room with women whose presence on and off screen are inspiring and empowering, I felt as if I was in the company of women I've known forever. They are moms, friends, business women, and beautiful. How did these women, who seem to have it all, find work/life balance- especially the mothers? Alfre Woodard shared how just recently, she and her husband became empty nesters (she got a little choked up talking about it). She told me that when her children were younger (and she was on set in Canada), if she had 12 hours of downtime, she flew home, roasted a chicken, sat with the children for a meal or two, tucked them in bed and went back to work. She found a way, in some way, to be present, even if it was for a few moments. Being a mother was the highest calling for her, but she was/is "a story teller... and put on earth to do just that." So she seldom beat herself up for loving to do it.
She assured me, "You can have it all. You just have to stay awake for it." Spoken like a true and steel magnolia.
Steel Magnolias premieres October 7th, at 9pm on Lifetime.