Wishful Casting: Lifetime's Upcoming Steel Black Magnolias
In a bit of peculiar-yet-awesome development news, Deadline is reporting Lifetime is set to remake Robert Harling's genius 1989 Southern dramedy Steel Magnolias — with an all-black cast! Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are set to produce the reimagining via their Sony TV-based Storyline Entertainment shingle. Famed director Kenny Leon is set to direct. Sally Robinson (The Music Man) is adapting the original Harling vehicle, which began as a stage play Harling wrote to help him cope with the loss of his sister to diabetes.
Since no casting choices have been reported for the project as of yet, I figured I'd give Wishful Casting the TV adaptation of one of my favorite movies a whirl! For the lead role of M'Lynn Eatenton, ever fretful mama of fragile-yet-courageous Shelby, I can't think of anyone better than Grey's Anatomy's own source of indominable strength, Chandra Wilson.
One of TV's most underrated stars, Wilson as Bailey has kept Grey's on many a fan's DVR when the perpetual neuroses of Meredith and her Dr. McDreamy had us ready to ask for a time of death on the ABC sudser. Wilson would be the perfect person to follow in Sally Field's sensible shoes. I get chills thinking about what she would do with M'Lynn's graveyard meltdown!
For Shelby, M'Lynn's daughter, who like Harling's real-life sister struggled valiantly with diabetes, while never ceasing to go after her 30 minutes of wonderful, I'd cast former child star Keke Palmer. Palmer has proven she can do both drama (Akeelah and The Bee) and comedy (Nickelodeon's True Jackson, VP), and at 18, she's only a few years younger than Julia Roberts was when the role of Shelby put her on the Hollywood A-List.