On Sunday (Dec. 24), the New York Times published a feature with Fantasia Barrino-Taylor, who is currently on a promotional run for the remake of The Color Purple. In the film, she plays the role of Celie Harris Johnson — the same character that she took on during a Broadway iteration of Alice Walker’s iconic novel.

Because of the harsh subject matter, Fantasia admitted to difficulties that she endured during The Color Purple’s six-month production.

“There were times that I just felt like I’m not going to make it. I cannot do it. I would cry going to set. I would cry leaving set,” she stated. “I would talk to God and I would tell him, ‘You’ve got to make this make sense. Make it make sense. There’s got to be something out of this.’ It was so hard.”

Her sentiments were echoed by stage and film producer Scott Sanders, who personally asked Fantasia to reprise the troubled character.

“It was a challenging time in her life, and it was very hard for her to compartmentalize between being Fantasia Barrino in the daytime and being Celie Johnson at night,” he explained while also calling Celie “the spine of the story.” “When she was called ugly eight times a week onstage during [the Broadway theater run], it took a very strong emotional toll on her. It was a rough nine months for her.”

Released in theaters today (Dec. 25), The Color Purple also stars an ensemble cast that includes Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Ciara and more. Ghanaian rapper-turned-filmmaker Blitz Bazawule directed the film while Sanders, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones acted as executive producers. On Rotten Tomatoes, The Color Purple boasts an impressive 88 percent approval rating among critics, many of whom praised its musical direction.