The cast for the upcoming musical film The Color Purple keeps growing in size and talent. Aunjanue Ellis has become the latest actress to join the star-studded lineup. Exclusively reported by ESSENCE, the Academy Award-nominated star will play the role of Mama, Celie and Nettie’s mother. Warner Bros. Pictures announced the casting news on Wednesday (April 6).
Ellis adds to an all-star cast set to bring The Color Purple musical to the big screen. First announced in 2018, the project sees Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Quincy Jones joining forces with Warner Bros. Winfrey, Spielberg and Jones signed on to produce the film along with award-winning Broadway producer, Scott Sanders.
The first major casting announcement came in August 2021 when Grammy Award-winning R&B singer H.E.R. was announced as the character Squeak. In February of this year, Taraji P Henson was revealed as Shug Avery. In the same month, Fantasia, Danielle Brooks, Halle Bailey, and Colman Domingo were announced as leads.
Fantasia will play Celie, as she has previously done on the Broadway rendition from 2007 through 2008. Brooks, who portrayed Sofia in the Broadway play’s revival from 2015 to 2017, will reprise her role as well. Bailey is set to star as Young Nettie while Domingo takes on the stern role of Mister.
Most recently, Ciara, Deon Cole, Louis Gossett Jr., Tamela Mann, David Alan Grier, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, and Stephen Hill were added to the anticipated remake. Ciara will play the adult version of Nettie, Gossett Jr. will portray Ol’ Mister, Mann will play First Lady, Mpasi will play Young Celie, Cole will portray Alphonso/Pa and Hill will play Buster, Sofia’s new boyfriend after she leaves Harpo.
The Color Purple is set to hit theaters in December 2023.