ChitChatter: Queen Latifah Says She Initially Wasn’t Sure About “Steel Magnolias” Remake

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Categories: ChitChatter, Hollyweird, Making it Rain on Them Hoes, New Movie, News, Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah

Sometimes you just don’t mess with a good thing! And that’s initially how Queen Latifah felt about doing a remake of the powerful chick flick “Steel Magnolias.”

Via NYPost reports:

“Obviously, I took pause,” Latifah deadpans, knowing that the movie’s legion of fans might feel that someone had swiped their wedding albums and replaced the photos of their favorite eccentric friends and relatives.

The remake, which airs on Lifetime, Sunday night at 9, boasts a predominantly African-American cast that includes Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Adepero Oduye, Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard in the roles made famous in the 1989 movie by Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine, respectively. Rashad’s real-life daughter, Condola, has the Julia Roberts role of Shelby, but is playing Latifah’s daughter. There are a couple of men in the movie, too.

Along with “Golden Girls” repeats and women-in-peril movies, the original 1989 version of “Steel Magnolias” virtually defined what Lifetime was all about.

“Magnolias” always got great ratings, even if Lifetime threw it on at the last minute in order to make their numbers for the month.

Latifah says she was “lassoed” into the project by producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who had worked with her on the movie versions of “Chicago” and “Hairspray.”

She was sure that both of them had really lost it when they offered her the straight-laced Sally Field part of M’Lynn instead of one of the three scene-stealing, wise-cracking, supporting roles that seemed tailor-made for her comedic talents.

Latifah began to warm up to the idea when Zadan and Meron told her that the project had the blessing of “Steel Magnolias” playwright and screenwriter Robert Harling.

Harling felt that a predominantly black cast would be the one way to bring a fresh perspective to the material.

Latifah who signed on as both a co-star and executive producer, also agreed to a breakneck, 18-day shooting schedule.

Preparing for the movie was rough going. Her own mother was battling a serious illness, and learning the role of a mother who tragically loses a child brought back painful memories of her brother, who died in a motorcycle accident when he was 24.

Just when she thought it was safe to play Condola’s mother, she was on the set staring at one of her own motherhood role models: Phylicia “Claire Huxtable” Rashad.

“That’s my mama, that’s America’s mama,” she said.

Studying the interplay between the Rashads, she got Phylicia’s permission to steal their intimate, nonverbal gestures of quietly pointing at each other and softly touching each other’s arms with their index fingers.

As for Sunday’s “Magnolia” premiere, she says: “I plan to watch with my parents and a couple of bags of Funyuns, so we can stank up the joint a bit.”

No word on whether Field has a rap album in the works.

Really though? Funyuns? SMH. No wonder this chick can’t get a man. (We kid! We kid!)

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