Lifetime's 'Sister Cities' Is Based On A Play, But Not Everything Is Exactly The Same

Lifetime is typically known for original content, with the occasional "ripped from the headlines" adaptation thrown in there. However, their latest acquisition is an indie film based on a play that debuted in Los Angeles in 2006 and has been performed all over the world since then. For those who have seen one of those many productions are are just curious, Lifetime's Sister Cities is different from the play in a few key ways, but the adaptation is strong.

Writer Colette Freedman adapted the screenplay from her own stage play, also titled Sister Cities. It's about four sisters who come together when they believe their mother has died. Mysterious already, right? The indie film, which Lifetime is presenting on television, stars Jacki Weaver, Stana Katic, Amy Smart, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Troian Bellisario. The title comes from the names of these siblings: the girls are named Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, and Austin. They're named after where they were born, but they've since spread out even further.

One big change is the presence of male characters at all. The play only has five female roles, whereas Alfred Molina plays Mort in the film. Actor Tom Everett Scott also plays Chief Brady, and there are other smaller male roles throughout, according to IMBb. The site also lists several young actresses playing younger versions of the sisters and their mother Mary, which the play does not do.

Stana Katic ES on YouTube

Without giving anything away and without having seen the film yet, I can't tell for certain how much is different in terms of plot and structure. I assume that Freedman has made some changes to fit the medium — sitting in a room and talking doesn't play as well on film and television as it does on the stage. Another simple example of this is The History Boys, which takes place primarily in a classroom on stage but the film moved several scenes outside to give it a visual appeal. The Sister Cities play has a single set, and it appears that the film might have multiple locations just by looking at the trailer, above. The flashbacks with Mary may also be spread throughout the film. In the play, Mary shows up in an extended sequence at the beginning of Act Two.

However, since both the play and the film were written by Freedman and the general story seems the same, I wouldn't be too worried or concerned that Sister Cities is very different. The characters are the same, and that's what matters. With a cast this strong, I'm looking forward to seeing what Freedman and these women have done with the material, even if it has been tweaked a bit.

Image: Courtesy of Lifetime