Lifetime has greenlighted a pair of original movies based on popular novels written nearly two centuries apart. The cable net said today that Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta, a contemporary take on Jane Austen’s early 19th century classic, and an adaptation of Adriana Trigiant’s 2009 book Very Valentine will premiere next year.
Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta features an African-American cast led by Reginald VelJohnson as Reverend Bennet, a pastor of a prominent Southern Baptist church, and his wife, Mrs. Bennet (Jackée Harry), author of a self-help book on how to find the perfect husband. Needless to say, Mrs. Bennet is less than thrilled that all five of their daughters — Lizzie (Tiffany Hines), Jane (Raney Branch), Mary (Brittney Level), Lydia (Reginae Carter) and Kitty (Alexia Bailey) — are still single. When the very eligible Will Darcy (Juan Antonio) arrives in town, Mrs. Bennet sets her sights on the handsome bachelor for daughter Lizzie, leading to a comedic modern-day take on themes familiar to fans of the novel.
Directed by Rhonda Baraka from a script by Tracy McMillan, its cast also includes Kellee Stewart, Victoria Rowell and Keshia Knight Pulliam. Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta is produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Swirl Films, with Leslie Greif, Naomi Despres and Tracy McMillan serving as executive producers.
Very Valentine tells the story of the Angelini Shoe Company, which has been making exquisite wedding shoes since 1903 but now teeters on the brink of financial collapse. To save one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village from ruin, Valentine Roncalli (Kelen Coleman) — apprentice to and granddaughter of master artisan Teodora Angelini (Jacqueline Bisset) — must bring the family’s Old World craftsmanship into the 21st century. Juggling unpredictable love lives, duty to their family and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine and Teodora are on a quest to build a pair of glorious shoes that’s sure to beat their rivals. Also, in the course of discovering her true artistic voice, Valentine discovers true love as she turns her life and the business upside down in ways she never expected.
The film will be produced in Bulgaria by Judith Verno and Sony Pictures Television. Larry Sanitsky serves as executive producer. Menhaj Huda (Lifetime’s Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance) directs from Adriana Trigiani’s script.