Who Should Be In The All-Black Remake of Steel Magnolias?

We’re not quite sure how to react to the news that Lifetime Television wants to remake Steel Magnolias with an African-American cast.

On the one hand Magnolias is a camp classic and you can’t manufacture camp. It has to happen organically. While we found Todd Haynes’ remake of Mildred Pierce…interesting, for example, it was almost a completely different animal from the 1945 original.

On the other hand, under all that hairspray and deep-fried wisdom, Magnolias gets to some deeper truths about motherhood, friendship and the South. In the right hands (Tony nominee Kenny Leon is attached to direct) and adapted to the nuances of Southern African-American culture, a new version could bring something exciting to the table.

On the third hand (yes we have three), it’d be disastrous if they kept the script intact. Lets not pretend the experiences of African-American women in Louisiana, even today, are the same as their white counterparts.

Now comes the fun part—the casting!

Angela Basset is a shoo-in for M’Lynn (Sally Fields’ role). She’s even working with Leon on Broadway right now in The Mountaintop.

You gotta have Loretta Devine in there somewhere—it’s practically a commandment. We see her as amiable widow Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukakis in the movie).

She’s too young but with some latex and makeup, Vanessa Williams would be a killer Louisa “Ouiser” Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine’s role). We’ve seen her play prickly to perfection before.

Have some better suggestions? What about Shelby, Truvy and Annelle? Weigh in below in the comments.

But first, our animated version of M’Lynn’s heartbreaking cemetery scene. Enjoy!


Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #kennyleon #lifetime stories and more


  • Sam Wheat

    Tyler Perry, Wesley Snipes, and Eddie Murphy.

  • Al

    I guess a better question is, why?

  • Darling Nikki

    Jennifer Hudson – Julia Roberts Role
    Anthony Mackie – Husband/Dylan McDermott Role
    Regina Hall – Darryl Hannah role
    Whoopi Goldberg – Shirley Mac Role
    Loretta Devine – Dolly Parton Role
    I agree Angela Bassett – Sally Field Role
    Don Cheadle – Tom Skerrit role
    Phylicia Rashad – Olympia Dukakis

    Those are my 2 cents if they’re going to do a remake.

  • ewe

    I think it’s a great idea.

  • fredo777

    @Al: “I guess a better question is, why?”

    Why not? If handled right, it could be very entertaining. I’m intrigued by the idea.

  • LukeM

    For Olypmia’s role I would go with Nichelle Nichols.

  • Ray

    This is bull shit. Get an original idea and stop screwing up the classics.

  • James

    @Sam Wheat: Is there something you’re tying to imply Sam?

  • FreddyMertz

    Shelby-Zoe Saldana
    Truvy-Niecy Nash
    Ouiser-Diana Ross
    Clariee-Leretta Divine/Oprah
    M’Lynn-Angela Bassett
    Annelle-Jennifer Hudson
    Jackson-Boris Kodjoe
    Drum-Denzel Washington
    Spud-only because he’s in everything, Samuel L Jackson

  • Jonny

    My suggestion for the casting:

    Angela Basset or Debbie Allen as M’Lynn Eatenton (Sally Fields’ role)
    Patti LaBelle as Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton’s role)
    Jenifer Lewis as Louisa “Ouiser” Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine’s Role)
    Raven-Symoné as Annelle Dupuy Desoto (Daryl Hannah’s Role)
    Phylicia Rash?d as Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukakis’ role)
    Zoe Saldana or Rosario Dawson as Shelby Eatenton Latcherie (Julia Roberts’ Role)

  • Brian

    This has DISASTER written all over it.

  • James

    I have never seen this movie,what is it about?

  • Little Kiwi

    remakes can be interesting – Steel Magnolia’s is a very specific slice of White Southern Experience. a film that takes on the plot structure but filters it through the sociological realities of the Black Southern Experience could actually be interesting.

    unless it’s just one of those “let’s slap a new demographic on a property and make money from them” hackjobs.

    i still don’t see why one can’t just write a new story, but if they used this property to make a pointed flip-side to the White story it could actually prove to be interesting.

  • Aunt Sharon

    @Al: It started life as a play, and continues as a play. It would be a real shame if the movie killed that. The only thing camp about it is Clairee’s wisecracks (admittedly great.) As I’d rather see the divine Margo Martindale’s Truvy than Dolly Parton’s, fine as it was, I’d like to see any new take on the material. As for casting, how about Wanda Sykes for either Ouiser or Clairee? And let’s not forget Mo’nique. That girl’s got chops, too.

  • Meowzer

    This is my favorite movie of all time (my cat is even named Magnolia). Leave it the hell alone! Why must every movie be ripe for a remake. Sometimes a classic is just that… a classic.

  • Eric in Chicago

    Hope it’s not like the remake of THE WOMEN. They took an excellent movie and turned it into sh*t.

  • Cam

    Shelby, – Paula Prentis,

    and lets let the big girls have some fun and get Gabriel Sidabe for Anelle.

    Lynn Whitfield as Maline

    Monique as Truvy

    Nichelle Nicholes as Clairie

  • TJ

    I hope that Fantasia beast stays far away from this.

  • Catmann

    Let me first mention right up front … I am black!
    Now, I say cast NO ONE! Why oh why must there be a remake to start with let alone an all black remake of this gem of a movie? I totally understand and agree that there is a need and want for more/better black female film roles but this is not the way to go about it. Remakes rarely and I mean raaarely live up to originals and this black remake is just going to turn it into a black vs the white version and if you chose one over the other you may get labeled racist depending upon what your skin tone is. Does anyone rememeber The Wizard of Oz black remake The WIz? Well, im sure Diana Ross and MJ (before he died) wanted to forget about it also. What’s next, an all Asian cast remake of Waiting to Exhale? Bad bad idea!!!

  • Catmann

    @Meowzer: AMEN!!!

  • jeff4justice

    Olympia Dukakis – not the most dynamic person to interview at SF Pride this past year. Maybe it would have helped had I known who she was ; )

    Olympia Dukakis Chats With Jeff 4 Justice

  • Evji108

    Why Oh Why dear God does everything have to be re-made to death? Where is the originality in this world? There are a million stories waiting to be told but since that one made money the first time around it has to be barfed up again in another color. barf.

  • fredo777

    @Catmann: I do remember the Wiz + I have no interest in forgetting about one of my favorite ever film soundtracks, thankyouverymuch.

    I even created the set designs (based on some of my original artwork) for our school production of The Wiz. Loves it.

  • Cutting Edge

    @Brian: I bet your FACE has disaster written all over it.

  • Catmann

    @fredo777: Sorry, didnt mean to insult your fav soundtrack. The movie did have moments of greatness (if only a few) such as the song’ “Home” or MJ’s “You Cant Win”?!?! But overall, a good soundtrack alone cant carry a movie and watching a 40 something year old Diana Ross playing a role that was 1/2 her age didnt win me nor most critics over. Again, just leave classics alone!

  • fredo777

    @Catmann: lol Yeah, I know the movie had its flaws, I was just being silly. But I did enjoy it, though. And I loved the soundtrack enough that I wouldn’t want the movie to have never existed. My only regret is that when I tried out for the role of The Wiz in that same school production, I didn’t get it b/c my grades sucked + our school had a policy of only giving roles to the best students. Laaame. :[

  • Caleb in SC

    @ Cutting Edge: Jesus, you are a freaking douchebag! What? Are you in the third grade or something?

  • JoeyO'H

    Hollywood no longer has creativity. If it’s not a 3-D movie, it’s a bad remake.

  • Vinny

    Well, I could never make it through The Wizard of Oz…it’s so Boring!!! But I watch The Wiz everytime I catch it on. And I could never make it through more than twenty minutes all of the overacting in Steel Magnolias, so I would give this remake a watch.

  • Janet H.

    I’ll consider watching it only if they leave Jennifer Hudson out of it.

  • fredo777

    @Janet H.: Funny, b/c I’ll be that much more likely to watch it if they include my girl J-Hud.

  • jonjon1968

    When Steel Magnolias first came out, it was typical that a group of white women in that part of the country would not have friends of various races. In this day and age, I fail to see the purpose of having an all African-American cast. Why not have a Latina, Asian-American, African-American, Anglo-American and whoever else in each part? They could cast each role as a different ethnicity. Hell, Annelle or Truvy could even be a gay man (if that’s not too stereotypical – I think it would be a fun role to play). I guess I am naive to believe that we should be bringing people together and not still segregating them. Besides, wouldn’t that appeal more to general audiences and not just one demographic?

  • Catmann

    @jonjon1968: I am so with you on this. A multi-race version would be much more 2012 and interesting than a rehashing of so called seperate but equal representation of the ’80s. I still dont like the idea of a remake but a mutli-race version would at least make me give a chance!

  • EL

    I know there’s lots of discussion here about whether to make the movie or not….but as it seems like it’s kind of a done deal (about which I have some ambivalence….but wouldn’t be totally closed off to it—-the original is one of my favorite movies!)….I’ll throw one other black actress’ name into the ring here: Sheryl Lee Ralph. I love her…..I don’t know what character she’d be best as although I suspect she’d make a pretty fierce Truvy

Comments are closed.