Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Taylor to lead The Color Purple musical film

Both women played their respective roles during the show's Broadway runs

Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Taylor to lead The Color Purple musical film
Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Taylor during Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising Photo: ABC/Jeff Neira

The new film adaptation of The Color Purple, based on the Tony-award winning musical, has found its Celie and Sofia. Fantasia Taylor, who won the third season of American Idol, will play Celie. Celie was portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Danielle Brooks will play Sofia, the role Oprah Winfrey played in the Steven Spielberg flick.

Winfrey herself announced the news on February 3 during ABC’s Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising special. Winfrey said to Brooks, “I am here representing all things purple to tell you that you are our Sofia. I’m so happy to pass whatever baton from 35—almost 40—years ago to you. And I know you’re gonna kill it.”

Taylor and Brooks both played their respective roles in the musical during The Color Purple’s two Broadway runs. Taylor joined the original production of the musical in 2007, marking her Broadway debut. The musical ran on the Great White Way from 2005 to 2008. Brooks played Sofia in the 2015 revival and was nominated for a Tony Award for her work. That production, which won the Tony for Best Revival, closed in 2017.

Coincidentally, Jennifer Hudson, who Taylor beat in her quest on American Idol, had her Broadway debut during that revival, playing Shug Avery. In the new film, which Winfrey and Spielberg are producing, that role will be filled by Taraji P. Henson.

Cynthia Erivo played Celie in the 2015 revival, but she’s actually connected to another blockbuster movie musical–the Wicked movie.

The Color Purple will be directed by Samuel Bazawule, who helmed Beyoncé’s Black Is King film. Corey Hawkins (In The Heights) will play Harpo, singer H.E.R. will play Squeak, Colman Domingo (Zola) will play Mister, and Halle Bailey (The Little Mermaid) will play Celie’s sister Nettie. The film is currently slated for a 2023 release.


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