Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg have reunited to revive “The Color Purple” in a musical, directed by Blitz Bazawule.
After showing footage for distributors at CinemaCon last month, Warner Bros. released the first trailer for the new adaptation, which is set to premiere in North America on December 25. The film will be released internationally from January 18, 2024.
The trailer features visually bold designs as it takes audiences into Celie’s free space with “American Idol” winner Fantasia reprising her role on Broadway, in her film debut. It also gives insight into the sisterhood of women at the heart of the story. Raised by greatness, the highlights are the jaw-dropping music videos and production set against the backdrop of Mister’s Farm.
Fantasia stars Danielle Brooks as Sofia, who earned a Tony Award nomination for the role in the 2016 Broadway revival, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Colman Domingo as from Mister, HER in Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, Corey Hawkins as Harpo. and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Mom.
The adaptation cast also includes Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister, David Alan Grier as Reverend Avery, Ciara as Nettie, Deon Cole as Alfonso, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as Young Celie, Tamala J. Mann as First Lady and Stephen Hill as Buster, as well as Jon Batiste as Grady and Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie.
In one scene, Shug Avery shows Celie how to apply lipstick. During a virtual event launching the trailer, Winfrey revealed that the line was improvised. “When she says, ‘Oh, living God.’ It was an ad-libbed line that comes out of that moment when you’re with your sister and you look at her in lipstick for the first time and you’re happy for her,” she explained.
Winfrey was also asked about the need to tell the story of “The Color Purple” almost 40 years later. Winfrey, who serves as a producer on the film, alongside Spielberg, Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones, replied, “As long as there is a need for self-discovery, for empowerment, as long as there is a need of victory in someone’s life, as long as there is a need for people to know what it is to be loved and to be fulfilled and to cling to someone’s love another, there will be a need for ‘The Color Purple’.
With the film releasing on Christmas Day, Winfrey and Bazawule hope the film’s message will bring healing. Winfrey recalled a recent conversation with Fantasia who said, “The movie changed her because it allowed her to forgive. She said, ‘People who come to see this movie will be healed because I was healed.’ »
Based on a 1982 novel by Alice Walker, “The Color Purple” centers on Celie, an early 20th-century southern black woman who is abused by her father and husband. Three years after the book’s publication, in 1985, Spielberg directed and produced a film adaptation starring Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Laurence Fishburne. The film received 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
In 2004, “The Color Purple” was adapted into a Tony-nominated musical written by playwright Marsha Norman with music and lyrics by Stephen Bray, Brenda Russell and Alee Willis. The critically acclaimed production received 11 Tony nominations. The 2016 revival garnered four Tony nominations and picked up two wins, including Best Musical Revival and Best Actress for Cynthia Erivo’s performance as Celie. (Brooks was nominated for Actress in a Featured Role Award for her performance as Sofia.)