Today’s movie lovers can appreciate the chance to see history repeat itself, as Oprah Winfrey revealed the cast for the new musical film adaptation of “The Color Purple” on Feb. 4.
this movie gone be LOUD baby https://t.co/QXiXQaY5Vj
— zae | son of apollo (@ItsZaeOk) February 4, 2022
The musical film is based on Alice Walker’s iconic book by the same name. After Walker published “The Color Purple” in 1982, she became the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The award symbolized how Walker breathtakingly used themes of race, sexuality, feminism, sexual violence and abuse in her work.
The book subsequently found its way into American classrooms because of its literary brilliance and historical relevance. However, the book quickly drew controversy because of its intensity in the form of explicit language and graphic violence. Consequently, the book earned its place on the American Library Association’s list of frequently banned books.
“The Color Purple” was given its first film adaptation in 1985, directed by Steven Spielberg. The first star-studded film featured Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Winfrey, and was a success at the box office, grossing $142 million — almost 10 times the original budget.
Fantasia Taylor, R&B singer and winner of the third season of American Idol, has been cast as Celie. Taylor already played the character for the Broadway musical back in 2007, and thus was the obvious choice for the role in the musical film. In her announcement post on Instagram, she wrote “I hope that every little Black girl who is fighting to be heard and recognized also promises to never give up in spite of the costs.”
Coleman Domingo will play Celie’s horrifically abusive husband, “Mister.” Domingo is a Tony Award-winning Broadway performer who has also starred in top-rated television shows, such as “Euphoria” and “Fear The Walking Dead.” Winfrey told Vanity Fair that she cast Domingo because of his “prolific ability to embody any character.”
“THE COLOR PURPLE” REVISITED: H.E.R., Danielle Brooks, Fantasia Taylor, Taraji P. Henson and Colman Domingo are joining the cast of the new version of “The Color Purple” — and one of the actors even got a special message from producer and original movie cast member, @Oprah. pic.twitter.com/9Xerp60WhO
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) February 4, 2022
“I think it will resonate with the young people today because I think young people are even more ravenous when it comes to learning their history. I think ‘The Color Purple’s’ history is the history of America in many ways. It’s not just a story of a Black girl.” Domingo said in an interview with Good Morning America.
Halle Bailey will play Nettie, Celie’s sister, who moves in with her and Mister but flees after Mister attacks her. Bailey is a part of a musical duo with her sister Chloe, and the pair starred together in the television series “Grown-ish.” In addition, Bailey will play Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action movie “The Little Mermaid.”
Corey Hawkins is playing Harpo, the surprisingly kind son of Mister. Hawkins was in the musical film “In the Heights” and starred as Dr. Dre in “Straight Outta Compton.”
In a heartfelt moment, Winfrey called Broadway musical star Danielle Brooks to give her the part of Sofia. On Broadway, Brooks had previously played Sofia, Harpo’s first wife, who starts as a fearless woman but whose spirit is ultimately broken by racist wrongful imprisonment. Winfrey herself played Sofia in the 1985 film, and Brooks said she was “honored to share Sofia with this next generation.”
R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. will make her acting debut as the character Squeak, Harpo’s mousy second wife who roars to life at the end of the story. Winfrey told Vanity Fair that the artist, who is currently on tour, agreed to change her concert dates to be available to film the movie.
Finally, Taraji P. Henson will play Shug Avery, a blues-singer turned hero when she teaches Celie how powerful women can be when they are confident in themselves, their sexuality and their wisdom. Henson was the powerhouse female lead in the show “Empire” and starred as the brilliant mathematician Katherine Johnson in “Hidden Figures.”
The star-studded musical film adaptation of “The Color Purple” will be released in December 2023.