EXCLUSIVE: Cher is set to star in Flint, Lifetime’s original movie about the water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. The Oscar winner also will executive produce the project, along with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, and Katie Couric. Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford has been tapped to direct Flint, which has not been formally greenlighted yet but is expected to begin production in the spring. Sony TV is the studio.
The project, written by Barbara Stepansky, has been in fast track development since Lifetime bought it last April,.The hard-hitting fact-based drama examines the events that led to the “toxic crime” committed against the residents of Flint. It is looking to shed light not only on the politics and poor management that led to the poisoning of the water, but also the human element of the residents who not only suffered but whose voices were ignored. Cher will play the key role of a Flint resident whose family is seriously impacted by the water crisis.
Zadan and Meron got the inspiration for Flint after reading Time magazine’s February 1, 2016, cover story “The Toxic Tap” by Josh Sanburn. Their Storyline Entertainment optioned the rights to the article with Sony TV, where the company is under a deal for long-form projects.
This will be only the second TV movie role for Cher, following the 1996 HBO film If These Walls Could Talk, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Both projects focus on hot-button social issues that Cher has been passionate about. If These Walls Could Talk dealt with the right to choose and abortion.
Flint is tackling a subject that is very personal for Cher. She has been active in raising awareness about the water crisis. She’s been vocal on social media and has donated hundreds of thousands of bottles of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution to residents. I hear it was Cher who, after reading an announcement about the movie, reached out to the producers, expressing her interest in participating in the project. With Cher on board, the script was written with a plum role for her. Mark Nicholson, who runs Storyline Entertainment, developed the script by Stepansky and will serve as a producer on the movie.
Cher won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Moonstruck and was Oscar-nominated for her co-starring role with Meryl Streep in Silkwood.
Beresford previously worked with Zadan and Meron, Sony and Lifetime on the Emmy-nominated miniseries Bonnie and Clyde which aired simultaneously on Lifetime/History/A&E. He previously directed the Best Picture Oscar winner Driving Miss Daisy and was Oscar-nominated for Best Director for Tender Mercies and also received a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Breaker Morant. Beresford is repped by Gersh.