“This has been a project so near and dear to my heart, and I was truly looking forward to helping tell this story,” Cher said in a statement. “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. I’m so glad that Craig and Neil plan to move ahead, and I know that this Lifetime movie will be done beautifully.”

Flint had been a passion project for Cher as it tackles a subject that is very personal for her. She has been active in raising awareness about the water crisis and has donated hundreds of thousands of bottles of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan for distribution to residents. 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 key role for her as a Flint resident whose family is seriously impacted by the water crisis. She also was to executive produce the movie, along with Zadan, Meron, and Katie Couric. Sony TV, where Zadan and Meron’s Storyline Entertainment is under a longform deal, the studio.

Flint, written by Barbara Stepansky inspired by a Time magazine story, and directed by Bruce Beresford, is hard-hitting fact-based drama that 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.

Mark Nicholson, who runs Storyline Entertainment, developed the script by Stepansky and will serve as a producer on the movie.