Do We Ever Need to See ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Again? Apparently Lots of People Think So

Did you know that there’s a new version of Romeo and Juliet set to hit movie theaters this year? It’s got an all-star cast: Hailee Steinfeld (remember when True Grit was a thing?) as Juliet, Damian Lewis as her father, Ed Westwick as her cousin, and Paul Giamatti as that stupid priest who literally screws everything up. Good lord, people, do I hate Romeo and Juliet. I wouldn’t have much of an opinion, probably, if I hadn’t seen about fifteen different versions of it. Of course, Shakespeare’s classic tale of horny teenagers whose parents hate each other is pretty much entry-level Elizabethan drama, which means that everyone loves it. Everyone loves it so much that it’s coming back to Broadway with Orlando Bloom (thank God he’s working again) and Condola Rashad (Phylicia’s daughter). I suppose you can guess what new spin this production will give to this old, tired play. I could go on, but no one needs another lengthy blog post about Romeo and Juliet, either.

[via Playbill]

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Here’s the Trailer for Lifetime’s ‘Steel Magnolias’ Remake

YOU GUYS, IT’S FINALLY HERE! The first trailer for Lifetime’s remake of Steel Magnolias with an African-American cast has hit the internet. As BlackBook‘s singular staff member covering the Black Steel Magnolias beat (it’s a voluntary position), I am pleased as punch to share this with you because it is SO WEIRD.

It starts out with random images of magnolias (clever!) and table settings while somewhat familiar voices repeat famous lines that you’ve heard a million different times coming from the mouths of other people. It is very bizarre! And then we get the first looks at M’Lynn (Queen Latifah), Ouiser (Alfre Woodard), Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), Truvy (Jill Scott), Annelle (Adepero Oduye), and Shelby (Condola Rashad) and an anachronistic reference to Beyoncé, which I assume means that at no point will Jill Scott say the memorable line, "It’s the ’80s. If you can achieve puberty, you can achieve a past." 

Woof, you guys. I mean, I’m still excited and will watch the shit out of this (and, you know, change the channel at Halloween because I CANNOT WATCH SHELBY DIE), but there’s pretty much nothing special about this except that it’s got a bunch of strong black women delivering awkward line readings from a kind of campy movie about Southern ladies with big hair. I just don’t know if I can handle two hours of Queen Latifah looking sad. When I first saw the trailer existed, I was expecting, on the Steel Magnolias stress scale, to jump up to Rhett, Ouiser’s dog (incessent barking, losing hair), but right now I’m more like a Spud (just sittin’ around, doing Spud stuff).

Meanwhile, Viola Davis is sitting at home and LOLing pretty hard about this.

Cast of Lifetime’s All-Black Remake of ‘Steel Magnolias’ Announced

Back in October we shared the news that Lifetime was planning to remake Steel Magnolias, that classic tear-jerking dramedy about Southern women chattin’ and dyin’ of kidney failure, with an African-American cast. You may remember that I, amateur Hollywood casting director, assembled the perfect cast as a favor to Lifetime and the film’s producers. Clearly they have decided to take a different route, completely disregarding my brilliant choices to play the most important female characters in the history of film. 

According to Deadline, Queen Latifah (from now on referred to as "Queefah") is leading the cast, taking on the role of M’Lynn Eatonton (famously played by Sally Field in the 1989 film). That’s only the tip of the iceberg made up of questionable casting choices!

Produced by Sony Pictures Television, Steel Magnolias chronicles the lives and friendship of six women in Louisiana: ‘M’Lynn’ (Queen Latifah), Ouiser (Alfre Woodard), Clairee (Phylicia Rashad), Truvy (Jill Scott), Annelle (Adepero Oduye) and Shelby (Condola Rashad). 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.

Um, first of all, did you call Viola Davis? I mean, considering she has two Oscar nominations under her belt whereas poor Queefah only has one, it makes sense that Davis would have just played recordings of laughter after listening to the pleading voicemails from the Lifetime reps because she doesn’t have time to LAUGH much less star in a LIFETIME ORIGINAL MOVIE, are you kidding me? So, fine, Viola Davis is out, but Queefah? As M’Lynn? A lady with three children, one of which DIES? No ma’ams, Lifetime. No ma’ams. At the very least, Queefah should be playing Truvy Jones. I mean, she JUST starred in a movie with Dolly Parton, you guys. Think of all the tips La Dolly could pass on to her new protege. 

While they do get a gold star for casting Phylicia Rashad as Clairee per my suggestion, are these people trying to pull a fast one by putting her daughter in the role of Shelby? Granted, my suggestion of double-casting Tia and Tamara Mowry was really just for LOLs, but at least they’d bring in the coveted Sister, Sister audience. I get that Raven-Symone is super busy right now stepping into the starring role of Sister Act: The Musical, thereby coming this much closer to taking over Whoopi Goldberg’s place in this world (speaking of which: You know that Whoopi did not say no to playing Ouiser, and you know that Lifetime forgot to call her), but nepotism? Really? Was Tracie Ellis-Ross too busy?

I supposed I’ll also give a pass on Jill Scott as Truvy, even though I can already imagine the salty tears that Loretta Devine is weeping right now. And I guess Adepero Oduye was supposed to be really great in Pariah, which I forgot to see. Maybe I will "forget" to see Steel Magnolias! (JK, nope, I will probably watch it five times.)

If they pick Terrence Howard to play Drum, I will eat my hat.