The iconic actress and musician was scheduled to begin shooting the film next month, but is now unable to participate, due to a family matter. Cher cited a “serious family issue” as the reason for her departure from the project, though she did not offer details.
“This has been a project so near and dear to my heart and I was truly looking forward to helping tell this story. 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,” Cher said in a statement provided to Variety. “I’m so glad that Craig [Zadan] and Neil [Meron] plan to move ahead and I know that this Lifetime movie will be done beautifully.”
Lifetime execs spoke about the film earlier this week at the network’s upfront and at the time, Cher was still attached, which indicates that the family issue was sudden.
Cher originally signed onto “Flint” in January. The film was a passion project for her, as she raised awareness about the Flint, Mich., water crisis on social media, and has donated thousands of water bottles to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
“Flint” is described as a hard-hitting fact-based drama that will explore the events that led to the toxic crime, and shed light on politics of the poor management, and the human element of residents who suffered and were ignored. Cher was set to play a local Flint resident whose family is impacted by the water crisis.
In addition to starring, Cher was also attached as an executive producer. Sources close to the project say it’s unclear if she will continue with her role as an executive producer.
Other executive producers are Zadan, Meron, and Katie Couric. Bruce Beresford is directing the film from a script by writer Barbara Stepansky that is based on Time magazine’s February 2016 cover story by Josh Sanburn about the contamination crisis. Zadan and Meron acquired the rights to the article through their Storyline Entertainment banner. Mark Nicholson, who runs their company, developed Stepansky’s script and will serve as a producer. Sony Television is the studio.