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Lifetime landed a big star for its upcoming made-for-TV movie about the Flint water crisis when it signed Cher for a major role. Unfortunately for the network and any who were counting on seeing Cher in the TV movie, however, she has had to drop out of her filming commitment. The good news is that we don't have to wonder about what happened to cause her to leave the project. Cher said this about why she had to drop out:
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. I'm so glad that Craig and Neil [the producers] plan to move ahead and I know that this Lifetime movie will be done beautifully.
Cher simply needed to drop out of filming the Flint water crisis movie because she could not relocate to Toronto for production next month. Her statement (via Deadline) indicates that she very much wanted to continue her work on the project but needed to focus on her family. We can only hope that the serious family issue she is facing is one that can be resolved without taking too significant a toll on her and her loved ones.
Interestingly, Cher was not attached to the project because Lifetime was looking for a big name to create buzz. She was the one who reached out to Lifetime after hearing about the Flint water crisis movie, in the hopes that there would be a place for her to contribute. The producers were happy to involve her, and the role of a Flint citizen whose family suffers from the polluted water was written specifically for her. We can't say at this point if the role written for her will be scrapped or given to another actress now that Cher is unavailable. Casting is currently ongoing for other roles.
While it's not too often that we hear of big names like Cher reaching out to channels like Lifetime in the hope of a job, it wasn't a huge shocker that the Flint water crisis movie drew her interest. She has worked hard to raise awareness about the situation in Flint, Michigan, and has donated hundreds of thousands of bottles of water to help the people who do not have access to clean water. It's a shame that she will be unable to use the movie to raise even more awareness personally; we can only cross our fingers and hope that the project turns out as well as Cher believes to be possible.