Grab your nearest box of tissues (or extra long sleeves should you be out of tissues), because the snot-crying is inevitably set to start up again. It’s been announced that the Color Purple movie musical adaptation is a sure thing. No, not the musical biopic of Prince‘s life post Purple Rain. The OTHER purple masterpiece that was a Tony award winning musical based on an Oscar nominated movie based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book. Are you still following? The Color Purple is now being turned into a movie based on the musical based on the movie based on the book. Oh, Hollywood- you really know how to milk a good thing when you see it!
Hollywood Reporter confirms that Warner Bros. is taking up the project with the original big names – Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders – at the production helm to guide this incarnation, which will inevitable have us sobbing the same amount as in any format (if you have those feelings things).
The musical, with a book by playwright Marsha Norman, and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, hit Broadway in 2005, earning 11 Tony nominations. It didn’t win best musical, but the 2016 revival that starred Cynthia Erivo won two Tonys, including best musical revival, as well as a Grammy and an Emmy. The musical also changed the demographics of Broadway attendance, with Purple pulling in 50 percent of its audience from the black community as opposed to the normal single digits. The musical has grossed more than $350 million, with the help of the many touring versions that have circulated the country.
“We’re really excited to create a film that translates the heart and emotion we found in telling this generational story on stage,” Sanders said. “This is an incredibly powerful drama that needs to be shared.”
In case you skipped too many high school English classes smoking in the toilet stall, Alice Walker‘s book came out in 1983. Oprah’s cinematic debut and her famed line that is one of Michael K’s favorite refrains whenever a Real Housewife shows up to a new season facially unrecognizable, (“Harpo, who ‘dis woman?“), came out two years later. Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover (not Donald Glover‘s dad, OK people?!) appeared as Celie and Mister in serious roles about an abused woman coming of age in 1930s rural Georgia. It is nearly impossible to watch this movie and not cry at least once if you are a human person who cares even a molecule about other human people.
It’s too early for casting to be announced, let alone hinted at, but it doesn’t seem likely that Cynthia Erivo from the Broadway show will be cast, as she is busy doing other projects. Cynthia’s just one Oscar short of an EGOT, so maybe there’s a little Oscar shaped carrot dangling in front of her nose, but it wouldn’t be Hollywood like to not at least examine new faces or bigger movie stars for the lead role. Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson have also been in the musical.
Being as this is now the third take on the story, they should really jazz things up and have a revolving cast of actors playing the same roles to really cluster fuck our brains. They should cycle through every available actor to take part in this production until we’re left with no one but Steve Urkel and Cherie from Punky Brewster in their 1980s bodies taking the final bow. That is Mister and Celie casting I can stand behind!