Cher withdraws from Lifetime movie on Flint water crisis for family reasons

Two days after Lifetime announced that Cher would executive produce and star in a telefilm about the water crisis in Flint comes word that the Oscar-winning actress has had to withdraw from the project. In a statement released Friday (March 24), Cher explained, “Unfortunately, I will be unable to leave Los Angeles during the scheduled filming as I am dealing with a serious family issue that prevents me from going on location for the April filming.”

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Inspired by Josh Sanburn‘s Time magazine cover story, “The Toxic Tap,” the film follows the story of three women from Flint who fought to expose the wrongdoing committed against the residents of the city who were unknowingly drinking and using lead-laden water. Bruce Beresford, who helmed the 1989 Best Picture champ “Driving Miss Daisy” is directing from a script by Barbara Stepansky. Also on board as executive producers are Oscar winners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (“Chicago”) who Cher made special mention of  in her statement: “I’m so glad that Craig and Neil plan to move ahead and I know that this Lifetime movie will be done beautifully.”

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Lifetime is one of the few outlets still making TV movies, a one-time programming staple of the Big 3 networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). The basic cable channel has enjoyed both critical and commercial success with such telefilms as “The Trip to Bountiful” and “Georgia O’Keefe.”

It is still all systems go for the high-profile project announced this week: Oscar winner Anjelica Huston (“Prizzi’s Honor,” 1985) headlines a remake of the 1980 cult classic “Watcher in the Woods” She is stepping into the shoes of two-time Oscar winner Bette Davis who created the role of Mrs. Alywood, a distraught mother whose daughter vanished in the English countryside over 20 years ago. When Jan Carstairs (Tallulah Evans) and her family move into Alywood manor for the summer, Mrs. Alywood is taken aback by Jan’s striking resemblance to Karen. As Jan unravels the dark past hidden by the townspeople, she delves further into the mystery. Melissa Joan Hart is helming and executive producing this reimagining.

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