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The Color Purple: Everything to Know About the 2023 Movie Musical

The musical adaptation of ‘The Color Purple’ is co-produced by Oprah Winfrey, who starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 original picture of the same name.

Get ready to feel the music!

Following the release of the original film in 1985, The Color Purple is headed to theaters once again to tell the story of three women and their “extraordinary sisterhood” — but this time, with a musical twist on the beloved classic.

Steven Spielberg — who directed the original Oscar-nominated film based on author Alice Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name — serves as a producer on the movie musical adaptation, alongside Oprah Winfrey, who originally played the role of Sofia in the 1985 production.

The upcoming film is an adaptation of The Color Purple stage musical, which was also based on the novel written by Walker, who made history when she became the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

“That is the power of a story well told,” Winfrey said of the writer, after reiterating the many ways her words have been adapted throughout the years.

At CinemaCon 2023, Winfrey described her role in the new production as a “full-circle moment” that “holds great personal meaning” to her. “The Color Purple in 1985 was the biggest and most important thing that ever happened to me and continues to be,” she said, adding, “Now we’re doing a brand-new version that could only come because of the most perfect director.”

Here’s everything to know about The Color Purple, the musical movie adaptation of the 1985 classic.

What is The Color Purple musical movie about?

The film synopsis for 2023’s The Color Purple movie reads: “A musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel about the life-long struggles of an African-American woman living in the South during the early 1900s.”

The film is a “bold new take on the beloved classic” about “the extraordinary sisterhood of three women who share one unbreakable bond,” according to an official description for the Winfrey-produced movie.

Screenwriter Marcus Gardley wrote The Color Purple‘s script based on author Alice Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name and the musical, which featured a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

Who is in the cast of The Color Purple musical movie?

The 2023 adaptation of The Color Purple stars Fantasia Barrino as Celie in her feature film debut, while Danielle Brooks plays Sofia among a star-studded cast that also includes Taraji P. HensonHalle Bailey, Louis Gossett Jr., Corey Hawkins, David Alan Grier, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, H.E.R., Ciara, Jon Batiste and Deon Cole.

Barrino’s character Celie, originally played by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1985 film, is a Black woman living in the Jim Crow South. The star previously portrayed the character on Broadway in the mid-2000s and was hesitant to revisit it for the movie.

“I want to thank Celie, a role that I ran from. And when they called me, I said I was not coming back to play,” she told the audience at ELLE‘s Women in Hollywood Awards on Dec. 5, 2023. “But it wasn’t until our great director [Blitz Bazawule] called me and said, ‘I’m giving Celie an imagination,’ and I said, ‘Okay, I’m in.’ “

“Because I was a young lady that went through a lot of things and lost a lot, and lost everything twice,” she added. “I never thought I would be back here in front of y’all.”

Henson said that audiences can expect it to be a combination of the 1982 novel, Broadway musical and previous film by Spielberg — but, this rendition will not harp on trauma. Instead, the actress — who described it as a “very joyous film” — shared that audiences will be taken inside Celie’s imagination, which is where happiness lived.

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