Exclusive: The Grammy-winner singer/actress spoke with theGrio about the reimagining of the popular television series, which starred the late Michael Landon.
In the 1980s, Highway To Heaven was a series that displayed the potential of humanity’s capacity for goodness, through the eyes and guidance of an angel. Today, that angel, once played by the late Michael Landon, is now in the form of Jill Scott as Lifetime Network is rebooting the program with a reimagined movie series.
In Lifetime‘s first installment of their new version of Highway to Heaven, three time-Grammy winner Scott plays Angela, a new angel sent to Earth to assist humans in times of crisis. Barry Watson co-stars with Scott as Bruce, a junior high school principal who Angela told her true identity.
With Bruce’s help, Angela works to aid the lives of a troubled student named Cody, and his father, Jeff, following the tragic death of Cody’s mom, Melissa.
The Michael Landon Estate along with his widow, Cindy Landon, are heavily involved with the film series. While the world knows Scott as a world-class singer and lyricist, she’s been quite successful as a TV actress on such programs as HBO’s The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency, and she currently stars on BET+ series, The First Wives Club. Scott spoke with theGrio about her latest on-screen endeavor.
Scott spoke about how wonderful her experience was working on a Lifetime production, and going forward, that treatment is what she’ll be demanding on future projects.
“The production value was fantastic, and I absolutely loved the promptness,” Scott told theGrio. “I loved how effective the entire staff was from lighting to cameras. I just thought that was fantastic and I’m so glad that I had that experience because I’m going to take you wherever I go. That is now the bare minimum.”
It certainly wasn’t lost on Scott that she is a Black woman who is stepping into the role that was immortalized by a white man. With that in mind, particularly given that she is one of the few people of color in the film, she wanted to make sure that Angela transcended race for the viewer.
“When I realized that the majority of the cast was going to be Caucasian, it was very important to me that I didn’t come off as the Black savior come in to save everybody,” Scott said. “I did not want that. I needed Angela to be bigger, if you will, than her color.”
Scott is hopeful that the Highway To Heaven film series helps to bring some light and hope for the audience, amid so much real-life turmoil happening in the country, ranging from police brutality, the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, and other atrocities. Scott feels that “we’re all losing faith in humanity,” and some of the storylines from Highway to Heaven will reveal that people are capable of more than just hate.
“I hope that this film and the series does remind people that they’re just people,” Scott said. “I decided that the people that Angela is sent to help, they have a purpose that is so great for humanity, and they’re inconspicuous. You don’t know who’s going to do something great for the world, you don’t know. You never know.”
Highway To Heaven’s first film premieres on Nov. 6 on Lifetime.