Ever since Anita Diamant's 1997 novel, The Red Tent, blew up into a global best seller — with a reported 3.3 million copies in 28 languages sold — fans have debated what it would be like to see the Bible-inspired work come to life on film. Lifetime answers that question Dec. 7 and 8 with its miniseries adaptation starring Rebecca Ferguson ( Mission: Impossible 5) as Dinah, daughter of the biblical Jacob; Minnie Driver as Leah, Dinah’s mother; Morena Baccarin ( Homeland) as Rachel, Jacob’s beloved second wife; and Debra Winger as Jacob’s mother, Rebecca. It's sexy and exotic, with sumptuous images of biblical women communing together in the private confines of their “earthbound rainbow” shelter and otherwise dealing with life amid the windswept wastes of antiquity.
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So, what does the author think? “I’m happy about a lot,” says Diamant, 63, who has authored four other novels as well as seven guidebooks on Jewish living. But mostly she likes “the way that it’s true to the message of women as strong and competent.” She’s also pleased with the mini’s faithfulness in depicting “the importance of women’s relationships with each other — friendships and family relationships.”
The sense of a feminine family extended into the real-life relationships that grew among the cast members on location in Morocco, according to Morena Baccarin. The actress tells us that one of her biggest takeaways from the experience was “the camaraderie we all developed together roughing it in the desert. I wish we had a modern-day red tent,” she adds. “It would be really helpful.”
Diamant says she is no fan of violence but was pleased with how the two-parter handles a particularly disturbing sequence, straight from the pages of Genesis as well as her book, in which Dinah’s brothers take bloody revenge on the Canaanite prince and all the male members of his tribe after the prince rapes Dinah, or, as The Red Tent imagines it, after she and he embark on a passionate romance.
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“It’s made with great heart and love, and parts I think they did brilliantly,” the author says of the miniseries. But,“I’m not comfortable talking about it in detail. I made the choice to have them make the movie, not me.” Diamant says readers have told her how excited they are and how much they wanted to see it on screen. “That’s just lovely. And the promotion ... It’s an otherworldly, very cool experience.”
However, Diamant still prefers to write books and has a new one publishing Dec. 9, a turn-of-the-20th-century tome, The Boston Girl. Like her other fiction, it brings to life the lesser-heard voices of history, women’s voices.
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