In the film Latifah ("Hairspray," "Chicago") will star as M'Lynn alongside a cast that includes Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad (A Raisin in the Sun, Gem of the Ocean) as Clairee, Golden Globe and Emmy winner Alfre Woodard (Drowning Crow) as Ouiser, Grammy winner Jill Scott as Truvy, Adepero Oduye as Annelle and Condola Rashad (Stick Fly) as Shelby.
"The caliber of talent we have for this film is astounding," said Lifetime president Dubuc in a statement. "Queen Latifah, Phylicia, Alfre, Jill, Adepero and Condola are some of the most celebrated women in music, film, television and stage – and we could not be more thrilled and honored for them to bring Robert Harling's poignant story about the strength of women to a whole new generation."
Kenny Leon (The Mountaintop, Stick Fly) is set to direct the film, which features a script that has been adapted for television by Sally Robinson ("Iron Jawed Angels") and is based on the play and screenplay by Robert Harling ("The First Wives Club").
In an updated contemporary version, "Steel Magnolias," according to press notes, "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 bring women together."
"Steel Magnolias" reunites Latifah with producing duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Chicago," "Hairspray," "Smash"), who will be executive producers alongside Latifah, Shakim Compere and Shelby Stone. Sony Pictures Television produces. The film will begin production this April in Atlanta for a debut in 2012 on Lifetime.