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Home > Everything We Know About ‘The Color Purple’ Musical Film Adaptation

Everything We Know About ‘The Color Purple’ Musical Film Adaptation

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The star-studded musical adaptation is being produced by Oprah Winfrey and Scott Sanders

The lengths to which Intellectual Property can be stretched all in the name of the game of not having to hit the whiteboard, sketchbook, or canvas for an original concept is quite impressive. Not only have some multiverses and reboots kept ideas from the ’80s and ’90s floating around like dinghies with last-minute houseboat addendums, but there is now the oddly common occurrence of films and television shows, ones that for which a sequel would have felt unfathomable, being susceptible to being turned into musicals. It’s certainly an interesting concept, adapting television shows and films that were not created with music and lyrics in mind and injecting them with songs for a niche audience. 

Sure, School of Rock seemed like a natural transition, but Mean Girls, Heathers, Beetlejuice, and Spongebob Squarepants? All four aforementioned film/TV-to-musical adaptations have proved commercially and critically successful, some with rave reviews. So, the people behind these adaptations are certainly putting their money where their mouths are. 

The Color Purple was adapted for Broadway in 2005. It was instantly a success, accruing 11 Tony Award nominations in 2006, $103 million in box office sales by the close of its initial run in 2008, and receiving a smash hit revival in 2015. The musical is now being adapted for film under the same name for a December 25, 2023 release.

History and Plot

The story’s lineage must first be detailed to get to the musical film adaptation of The Color Purple. The initial source to all of the adaptations is Alice Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983, making Walker The first black woman to win the prize. 

Steven Spielberg made the first film adaptation in 1985 with a cast that included Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Rae Dawn Chong, and Laurence Fishburn, among others. The film was commercially and critically successful, grossing $98 million in box office sales on a $15 million budget and garnering ten Academy Award nominations, notably winning none of them. A musical adaptation of the book and film opened on Broadway in 2005 and ran until 2008. The musical had a revival in 2015 and ran until 2017, winning a 2016 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. In 2018, Warner Bros. announced making a film adaptation based on the Broadway musical.

The musical, novel, and previous film adaptation follows Celie, an African-American woman in the South, over several decades from the early to mid-twentieth century. Celie suffers abuse at the hands of her father and, later, her husband, Mister, building bonds along the way with several other women struggling against the men and prejudice in their lives.

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Who’s Involved

The screenplay for the film is written by American poet, playwright, and screenwriter Marcus Gardley, known for his stage work and his writing for the Showtime series The Chi (2018-present). The film is directed by Blitz Bazawule, a Ghanaian filmmaker, visual artist, and rapper known for his critically acclaimed 2018 directorial debut, The Burial of Khojo, and the 2020 musical film Black is King, made with Beyoncé as a visual companion to the 2019 Lion King soundtrack album. Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones have returned to produce this adaptation, having previously collaborated on the 1985 film, as well as Oprah Winfrey and Scott Sanders, who previously produced the Broadway adaptation. 

Singer Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, known for winning season three of American Idol (2002-present) and her solo recording career, will reprise her role as Celie Harris-Johnson, having previously portrayed the character from 2007 to 2008 on Broadway. Other members of the cast include Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), also reprising her Broadway role as Sofie, stage and screen actor Colman Domingo (Zola and Euphoria) as Albert “Mister” Johnson, Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead and Straight Outta Compton) as Harpo Johnson, singer H.E.R. as Mary “Squeak” Agnes and singer Ciara as Nettie Harris. Other actors include David Alan Grier, Deon Cole, and Louis Gossett Jr. The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Studios and is slated for a December 25, 2023 release. 

Is There a Trailer?

A two-and-a-half minute trailer was released on May 22, 2023, offering a first immersive look at the musical adaptation, featuring most of the major actors, a few glimpses at some extravagant set pieces, and one of the featured songs.

For further information on The Color Purple musical film adaptation, keep up with Dead Talk News.

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The Color Purple (2023) Warner Bros. Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Will King is a writer based in Los Angeles, CA. The one thing he loves equally to watching film and television is talking about it.
Matt Keyser is a recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton University with a bachelor's in Communications-Journalism. He is a freelance entertainment reporter with a focus on film and television. As a former senior programming coordinator for the Newport Beach Film Festival, Matt's experience with critiquing narratives and documentaries has helped showcase his passion for television and cinema through his writing.