An announcement was made last week that Lifetime is planning a contemporary remake of the 1989 classic film Steel Magnolias this time around with an all-black cast. Because of that announcement, of course, my mind started spinning on casting possibilities.
But first, let’s review the story of the original movie. Sally Field and Julia Roberts starred as mother and daughter (M’Lynn and Shelby Eatenton) in a story about a young woman on the day of her wedding who we soon learn is a diabetic. A few months after the wedding, Shelby and her husband Jackson (Dylan McDermott) announce they are going to have a baby. This is wonderful news to everyone, except her concerned mother. While Shelby gives birth to a healthy baby, she begins to show signs of kidney failure a few months later; which prompts M’Lynn to donate a kidney to save her daughter. Unfortunately, several months after the transplant, Shelby’s body begins to reject the new kidney and she soon falls into a coma. The decision is then made to take the daughter off life support. Surrounded by her friends from the local beauty salon, M’Lynn is comforted and helped through this difficult time. A number of months later, Annelle Dupuy (Daryl Hannah), the young beauty salon assistant, asks M’Lynn if she can name her unborn baby after Shelby.
Among the cast of this classic film were actresses Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine, widow patrons of the beauty salon and Dolly Parton as the beauty salon owner [all three are friends of M'Lynn] as well as Kevin J. O’Connor as Annelle’s husband and Tom Skerritt as M’Lynn’s husband and father of Shelby.
And so, here are my choices for the cast of the Lifetime remake:
Angela Bassett (in the Sally Field role) – Angela is best known for her film work in movies like Boyz in the Hood, Malcolm X, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Jumping the Broom. She has also appeared in TV shows like Alias and ER.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw (in the Julia Roberts role) – Gugu first got the attention of American audiences in the short-lived J.J. Abrams series Undercover, but she has appeared in episodes of Doctor Who, the UK shows Bonekickers, MI-5 and Vital Signs as well as the mini-series Lost in Austen and the box office film Larry Crowne with Tom Hanks. She will soon be seen in the mid-season series Touch with Kiefer Sutherland.
Brandon Jay McLaren (in the Dylan McDermott role) – Brandon had a recurring role in the AMC series The Killing, but he has also appeared in the Canadian hit Being Erica, the short-lived thriller Harper’s Island and episodes of Smallville. He will next be seen in a recurring role on the TNT alien invasion series Falling Skies.
Rocky Carroll (in the Tom Skerritt role) – Rocky is best known for his role on the powerhouse CBS drama NCIS, but he has a long resume that includes roles in the TV series The Agency, Chicago Hope and Roc as well as roles in the box office films Yes Man, Crimson Tide and Prelude to a Kiss.
Jasmine Guy (in the Dolly Parton role) – Jasmine is, obviously best known for her role in the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, but more recently she has appeared on The Vampire Diaries and Dead Like Me. She also had roles in the box office films School Daze and Harlem Nights as well as the TV mini-series Queen.
Kerry Washington (in the Darryl Hannah role) – Kerry has appeared in films like Save the Last Dance, Ray, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Fantastic Four, The Last King of Scotland and For Colored Girls. She will soon be seen in the mid-season series Scandal.
Dule Hill (in the Kevin J. O’Connor role) – Dule, of course, is best known for his role in the long-running dramedy Psych, but he was also part of the impressive cast of the critically acclaimed series The West Wing. He also appeared in the films She’s All That, Men of Honor and Holes as well as the made-for-TV movie 10.5.
Loretta Devine (in the Olympia Dukakis role) – Loretta is a legend in the film and TV world, appearing in the fan and critic favorite Eli Stone as well as roles on the TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and Boston Public. Her film roles include I Am Sam, Crash, Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife, Woman Thou Art Loosed and Madea’s Big Family.
Phylicia Rashad (in the Shirley McLaine role) – Phylicia, of course, is best known for her role on the perennial classic comedy The Cosby Show, but she has also appeared in the TV adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun and the films Frankie & Alice, Just Wright and For Colored Girls.
Now that you’ve read through my dream cast, please provide your own. I would love to hear who you think should play these characters.