Fantasia Barrino in the Color Purple

New ‘The Color Purple’ Trailer Highlights the Powerful Music the Movie Has in Store

The Color Purple (2023) is based on the hit Broadway musical that itself was based on the 1982 novel of the same name. It is the second film adaptation of the novel and the first film adaptation of the musical. The book has faced consistent bans across the country, including being banned from Texas state prisons in 2017. In recent years, the novel’s legacy has also, unfortunately, had to contend with author Alice Walker’s descent into public bigotry and conspiracy theories.

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A second trailer has now been released for the film, and it really highlights the powerful music we’ll get in this new adaptation.

The plot of the film appears to be the same as the musical, which adapted the epistolary format of the novel by having the characters sing their letters to the other characters and to God. It follows the life of Celie Harris-Johnson as she struggles with many hardships of being an African-American woman in the early 1900s American South, including racism, incest, abuse, homophobia, and family separation. Spielberg’s film adaptation was criticized for reducing the queer text, though that change has been corrected in the musical and movie musical adaptations.

The cast of The Color Purple

The cast is absolutely stacked with award-winning actors and singers, but also serves as the debut for others.

Fantasia Barrino is making her film debut as the main character Celie Harris-Johnson, with Phylicia Pearl Mpasi playing young Celie. Her husband, “Mister,” is played by Colman Domingo, while her sister, Nettie, will be played by Ciara (with Halle Bailey portraying young Nettie). Taraji P. Henson plays Shug Avery, the Jazz singer who Celie has a relationship with.

The iconic cast of side characters includes:

  • Danielle Brooks as Sofia (reprising her role from the 2015 Broadway revival)
  • Corey Hawkins as Harpo Johnson
  • H.E.R. as Squeak / Mary Agnes
  • Aunjanue Ellis as Mama
  • Jon Batiste as Grady
  • Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister Johnson
  • David Alan Grier as Rev. Samuel Avery
  • Deon Cole as Alfonso
  • Tamela J. Mann as First Lady
  • Stephen Hill as Henry “Buster” Broadnax
  • Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie

Director of the first (non-musical) film adaptation of the novel, Steven Spielberg, returns as a producer, alongside producers of the musical adaptation, Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders, and Oprah Winfrey (who played Sofia in the 1985 Spielberg adaptation). Ghanaian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule is directing.

The movie is currently slated for release on Christmas Day, December 25th, 2023.

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Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.