Lifetime is getting serious with a forthcoming fictionalized movie that dramatizes the horror of the government’s knowing neglect of the lead in the Flint, Michigan water supply — and Cher will star as a resident of the city affected by the crisis. If all goes as planned, production on Flint will begin this spring.
Deadline reports that Cher heard about the film being made based off of groundbreaking investigative reporting on the subject, and wanted in.
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.
It may seem a bit of an odd combination of network, star and subject matter, but Deadline notes that the last TV movie Cher did, If These Walls Could Talk, tackled abortion — she likes to lend her skills as a thespian to the dramatization liberal political issues. Hopefully Flint will be good and not schlocky and there will be a level of understanding of the racial element of the state’s treatment of Flint and other cities, like Detroit. As Evan Osnos noted at the New Yorker:
It was only after Flint residents organized their own campaign—attracting experts and activists and national media—that the state acknowledged the scale of the problem. To some critics, Michigan’s use of emergency managers has been especially harmful to African-Americans. By one account, approximately half of the state’s African-American population is now governed by an emergency manager. Flint has had six emergency financial managers, or E.F.M.s, in thirteen years. Writing in The Root, Louise Seamster and Jessica Welburn described it as a policy derived from the “premise that democracy in predominantly African-American cities is unnecessary and that the state knows best.” N.A.A.C.P. leaders in Detroit have filed a federal lawsuit against the law that governs emergency managers, citing predominantly white municipalities with serious financial problems that did not receive the same treatment.