Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg reunite to breathe new life into “The Color Purple” as a movie musical, helmed by director Blitz Bazawule.
Following its exclusive debut for distributors at CinemaCon last month, Warner Bros. has unveiled the initial trailer for this fresh adaptation, scheduled to premiere in North America on December 25. International audiences can anticipate its release commencing on January 18, 2024.
The trailer captivates with visually striking imagery, immersing viewers in Celie’s world. “American Idol” victor Fantasia, in her highly anticipated motion picture debut, reprises her celebrated Broadway role, allowing audiences to witness her remarkable talent. Moreover, the trailer offers a glimpse into the profound sisterhood at the story’s core. Elevated by grandeur, the trailer’s highlights include captivating musical performances and awe-inspiring production design, all set against the evocative backdrop of Mister’s Farm.
Joining Fantasia in the stellar cast are accomplished performers. Danielle Brooks, who garnered a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in the 2016 Broadway revival, takes on the role once more. Taraji P. Henson embodies the charismatic Shug Avery, while Colman Domingo portrays Mister. H.E.R. shines as Squeak, and Halle Bailey captivates as Young Nettie. Corey Hawkins brings Harpo to life, and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor portrays the nurturing Mama.
The adaptation’s ensemble also includes esteemed actors: 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. Jon Batiste assumes the role of Grady, while Elizabeth Marvel takes on the character of Miss Millie.
One poignant scene showcases Shug Avery teaching Celie the art of applying lipstick. During a virtual event commemorating the trailer launch, Winfrey disclosed that the line, “Oh, living God,” was an improvised moment. She elaborated, explaining how it beautifully captures the emotions shared between sisters as they witness each other’s joy in such small but meaningful moments.
When Winfrey was asked about the significance of retelling “The Color Purple” story nearly four decades later, she, as one of the film’s producers alongside Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones, offered a profound response. She emphasized that as long as there exists a yearning for self-discovery, self-empowerment, and triumph in people’s lives, as long as the desire to experience profound love and be transformed by it persists, there will always be a need for “The Color Purple.”
As the film gears up for its Christmas day release, both Winfrey and Bazawule aspire for its powerful message to inspire healing. Winfrey recounted a recent conversation she had with Fantasia, who shared that the movie had profoundly impacted her by facilitating forgiveness. Fantasia expressed her belief that those who watch the film will also find healing because she herself experienced it.