Oprah Winfrey has revealed the cast who will star in the latest remake of The Color Purple.
Portraying the role of Sophia in the original 1985 film was a big break for Winfrey. Now, she’s onboard as a producer for this version, alongside Scott Sanders — who has produced and steered the original Broadway musical since 2005.
“This ain’t your mama’s Color Purple,” Winfrey told the publication. The cast she’s selected will be tasked with bringing the Tony-winning Broadway musical to the big screen.
Winfrey told Vanity Fair that she predicts that the movie will change their lives — as it did for her.
“It has been a vehicle for magic and purpose in my life,” Winfrey said. “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.”
Fantasia Taylor has been tapped to play the lead role of Celie (portrayed in the Spielberg film by Whoopi Goldberg).
“There is a rawness and a vulnerability to Fantasia. We all know she can sing, and she has to take on the song ‘I’m Here,’ which is the anthem for women’s empowerment, “Winfrey explained. “I think there’s no better time than this moment for it. It is an international battle cry for triumphing over adversity and empowering oneself and finding home within one’s self and one’s family. I think we’re gonna see a side of Fantasia that no one ever imagined.”
Colman Domingo (“Fear of Walking Dead,” “Euphoria,” Zola) will take on the role of Mister — the antagonist who abuses his wife Celie throughout the movie.
Halle Bailey will play Celie’s sister Netty, who runs away when Mister attacks her.
Taraji P. Henson was the perfect fit for Shug Avery, Winfrey said because they wanted a woman who embodies both sexiness and sexual wisdom.
“This is the person who becomes Celie’s teacher, the role model for what a woman can be and what a woman’s presence in the world can mean,” Winfrey explained. “So having somebody who can embody a sense of sexiness and bodaciousness, but also be grounded in wisdom, was what we were looking for. And I think we found that in Taraji.”
As for the role of Sophia, Winfrey said she called Danielle Brooks to “pass the baton on to her.”
“Obviously, that has a lot of personal meaning for me,” Winfrey said. “She thought she was going to do her final, final audition. Instead, I popped up on the screen and said, ‘Sofia, So-FEEE-AAHHHHH!! It’s your day!’”
Corey Hawkins (In The Heights, Straight Outta Compton, The Tragedy of Macbeth) will star as Harpo, and H.E.R. will play his second wife Squeak.
“My God, when I heard H.E.R. had agreed to do Squeak, that was a thrilling day,” Winfrey recalled.
Spielberg and Quincy Jones, who was the composer and a producer on the Oscar-nominated original film, will join Winfrey and Sanders as producers.
The new movie is being directed by Blitz Bazawule (Beyoncé’s Black Is King, The Burial of Kojo). The cast is set to begin shooting in Georgia next month.
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