The leading cast of The Color Purple musical remake has officially been announced. On ABC News special, Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising, which aired on Thursday (Feb. 3), it was revealed that Fantasia, Danielle Brooks, Halle Bailey, and Colman Domingo are all set to join previously announced cast members H.E.R., Taraji P. Henson, and Corey Hawkins in the forthcoming Blitz Bazawule-directed adaptation.
Fantasia, who portrayed Celie in the 2007 to 2008 Broadway adaptation of the Alice Walker novel, will reprise said role. In a tearful phone call with her team, the Free Yourself singer shared the news on social media.
I’m so excited to be a part of @WBPictures #TheColorPurple with @tarajiphenson, @HalleBailey, @thedanieb, @HERMusicx, @ColmanDomingo, and Corey Hawkins! pic.twitter.com/XzfKXWJKJm
— Fantasia Taylor (@TasiasWord) February 4, 2022
Brooks, who portrayed Sofia in the Broadway revival from 2015 to 2017 and earned a Tony nomination for her performance, will reprise that role as well. In Oprah Winfrey’s feature film debut, she garnered her first Oscar nomination for her depiction of Sofia in 1985. On the emotional video call, Brooks thought she was meeting with the director, but was instead surprised by Oprah adorned in all purple.
“I am here representing all things purple to tell you that you are our Sofia, Sofia,” Oprah shared in a sing-song tone. “I’m so happy to pass whatever baton from 35, almost 40, years ago to you. And I know you’re gonna kill it. I wanted to be the one to tell you because you know I have such love for her, this character, everything she represents and everything she brought to my life. And what I’m hoping is that she does the same thing for you.”
Sofia will always have my heart and I am ready to pass the purple baton on to the incredible @thedanieb who will bring her version to a new generation. See y’all at the movies when The Color Purple: The Musical hits theaters on December 20, 2023! pic.twitter.com/XkOh6b16Qu
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) February 4, 2022
Colman Domingo, who is set to play the complex role of Mister, expressed on Twitter, “I’ve been sitting on this for quite some time. I am ready to pour my soul into ‘THE COLOR PURPLE.’ Find that human heart in that broken soul of Mister. To work with Blitz, Fantasia, Danielle, Taraji, Corey, H.E.R. And [Halle]…takes my breath away.”
I’ve been sitting on this for quite some time. I am ready to pour my soul into THE COLOR PURPLE. Find that human heart in that broken soul of Mister. To work with Blitz, Fantasia, Danielle, Taraji, Corey, H.E.R. And Hailey…takes my breath away.
— Colman Domingo (@colmandomingo) February 4, 2022
Halle Bailey will portray Young Nettie. The singer took to Instagram reveling in the moment. “Feeling oh so grateful to be apart [sic] of this historic film as nettie [smiling face with hearts emoji] thank you God [red heart emoji].”
As previously announced, H.E.R. will make her feature film debut as Squeak, Taraji P. Henson is set to play Shug Avery, and Corey Hawkins will play Harpo.
When speaking on the forthcoming musical remake, Winfrey shared with 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.”
The Chi‘s Marcus Gardley will pen the modern rendition of endurance into “dreamlike territory, which will provide an escape for the central character, Celie” as “her longings and ambitions are often beaten down and suppressed in the real world she inhabits.” Steven Spielberg, who directed the original 1985 film, and Quincy Jones, who composed its score, will serve as producers.
The Color Purple (1985) earned five Golden Globe nominations and 11 Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. Whoopi Goldberg won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama. The original Broadway musical took home a Tony while the revival won two Tony Awards, but earned 15 nominations combined.
The Color Purple musical is set to begin production in the spring and is slated to premiere on Dec. 20, 2023.