Everything We Know About the Movie Musical ‘The Color Purple’


This week, the official trailer for the film version of the musical The Color Purple was released. The movie is based on the Broadway production, which was adapted from the novel of the same name by Alice Walker. Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for her story about a young woman named Celie who is subjected to terrible abuse at the hands of her husband and separated by him from her beloved sister, Nettie.

In 1985, Steven Spielberg created a film based on the book that earned 11 Oscar nominations. It starred Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, who is producing the new movie alongside Spielberg, Quincy Jones, and Scott Sanders, who produced the Broadway iteration.

“To reinvent the movie at this time is to reinvent a phenomenon,” she told Vanity Fair. “It has been a vehicle for magic and purpose in my life. I don’t know anybody who’s ever been associated with it whose life didn’t get enhanced. Everything comes from the original words of Alice Walker, which were grounded in love, really. Love of this community. Love of these people. Love of those characters. And that just gets passed on and passed on and passed on. I can’t wait to see this next evolvement, which is not attached to having done it the way we’ve always done it.”

Here’s everything we know about the movie musical The Color Purple.

Who is starring in The Color Purple?

The film stars Fantasia Barrino-Taylor as Celie, Goldberg’s role in the original movie. Colman Domingo plays her abusive husband, Mister, and Taraji P. Henson will star as Shug Avery, Mister’s mistress who becomes Celie’s love interest. Danielle Brooks is Sofia, the role Winfrey debuted in, and Halle Bailey stars as the young Nettie. Corey Hawkins plays Harpo, and H.E.R. stars as Squeak.

Barrino-Taylor was in the original role of Celie on Broadway in 2007, and Brooks was Sofia in the 2016 revival. Entertainment Weekly announced that singer Ciara will be playing the adult version of Nettie.

The movie is being direction by Ghanian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule.

How will this movie be different from the original?

Aside from all the music? Well, Sanders said the visuals will explore more of Celie’s inner world.

“Incorporating magical realism in this version of the story gives the audience a chance to go inside of Celie’s imagination,” Sanders told Vanity Fair. “In the early stages of Celie’s story, she is meek and small and in many ways passive. So we don’t really understand what’s going on inside that head of hers. We know there’s a lot going on, but we don’t know necessarily what it is.”

When will The Color Purple be released?

Production wrapped in July of 2022, and the trailer was out in May of 2023. Cast and crew members celebrated the experience of being on set for this film on Instagram.

The Color Purple will be officially out on December 25, 2023.

Headshot of Aimée Lutkin

Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.

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