Steel Magnolia’s is and will always be a childhood favorite of mine. It is a classic of the 80’s with beautiful Southern scenery, memorable lines, and a touching story on friendship. In fact it was one of the first videos my mom and I rented during the age of VCR’s.
Twenty three years later Executive Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Craig and Director Kenny Leon have given the hit movie a fun and loving made for Lifetime TV remake.
I had a chance to preview the film and beyond the apparent difference of having an all African American cast , this gorgeous and talented group of actresses brought a great spin to the movie without over doing and taking away from the original.
I recently had a chance to do a one on one with Co-star Condola Rashad who plays Shelby (originally played by Julia Roberts) about her role in this film. She was great to talk to and super understanding when I mentioned that my kids would be home from school shortly and to ignore the noise lol!
How did you get involved with the film?
I worked with Kenny Leon on the Broadway production of “Stick Fly” and I also worked with him in a musical the summer after I graduated from high school so he over the years we developed a great professional relationship. It was one of those things where he really wanted me to do the role because after “Stick Fly” closed I got the call.
Had you seen Steel Magnolia’s as a child?
As a child I had, and I don’t really remember it very well because I hadn’t seen it in so long. I haven’t seen it since I was younger. I didn’t watch it before we went into filming.
In this role you take on the task of mom, wife and a woman struggling with a kidney disorder. How did you prep for this role?
How you prep for roles is you really just read the scripts and you really go into it and you really break it down and figure out what’s happening in each moment and then after a while you start to get the feel for what is really going on behind the words that are in the script. The thing about Shelby that I love is her spirit. Shelby is that kind of person where her spirit is stronger than her body and I love people like that. The thing that I wanted to bring to Shelby was the level of compassion and even though she is kind of a bridezilla she can be a little bit of a hot head. I wanted her to still have a level of compassion and even though she loves to do whatever she wants I thought that somewhere deep down in her she knew what would happen if she had a child. It wasn’t completely like I’m going to be fine. She really wanted that. I think there is many things in her life where she was like listen I’m doing this, I’m riding this bike, I’m doing this, I’m doing this marathon. You know what I mean, and she was just doing all these things and she knew she was going to be fine all of those times and this time I think somewhere deep down she knew what she was getting herself into and it was still worth it. I was talking to someone and they said “oh man as a mother you know what she does is so selfish” you know because her mom is not there and you know it’s very interesting because in a way it is and it’s also very selfless at the same time. She gives her life, but this one thing that she really wants so I didn’t want to portray it in a way where she kind of reckless because I think she knew what she was doing.
To us your mom is Phylicia Rashad the actress and Claire Huxtable… To you she is mom,were you nervous working on the set with your her?
In the beginning I was nervous because I’m used to being around her while she’s working but, I’m not used to her being around me while I’m working. There were certain things that I was like okay wait wait wait is this together. I would say this, I can’t say that…my mother is sitting right here. It actually ended up being really really fun and we just had a really great dynamic with the other women..it was just a great group. We all found our own rhythm and it was great.
What’s one thing no matter age or race can take from this movie?
I think the story is universal because when you have a group of friends like that it doesn’t matter what race or age or gender even really, but when you have group of friends like that where you laugh together and you cry together and you go through hard things together and you come out on top together, it’s universal and that’s really what I get from the story. That’s what moves me.
Steel Magnolias premieres on the Lifetime Channel Sunday October 7th at 9PM EST.
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