The Color Purple Musical is getting a new film adaptation by producers Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Scott Sanders. Spielberg, Oprah, and Jones all had a hand in making the original 1985 film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. The movie was a box office success and earned seven Academy Award nominations (it didn’t win any), with Whoopi Goldberg taking home the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Both the film and book were the inspiration for the 2005 Broadway musical.
The Broadway production of The Color Purple originally ran from 2005 to 2008, earning 11 Tony Awards nominations in 2006. The musical was a smash success and earned a revival in 2015, which ran for another two years. The Broadway show made over $350 million throughout its two runs, and is now getting adapted into a motion picture by producers Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Broadway veteran Scott Sanders. The film doesn’t have a writer or director yet, and is said to be in the very early stages of development.
The Color Purple music and lyrics were written by Stephen Bray, Brenda Russell, and Allee Willis. The musical is based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel with another book adaptation for the musical by Marsha Norman. The story follows Celie, an African-American woman in rural Georgia from the early to mid-20th century and all of the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her father, husband, and others, which spans four decades. It also highlights the challenges that African American women went through during that particular time in American history.
Alice Walker’s original novel has been seen as controversial over the years and has been censored and challenged several times since its release. It is currently number 17 on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged or banned books. The book has been criticized for its depiction of African American men, with many stating that it feeds a stereotypical narrative of black men and violence. The Color Purple has also been challenged for the use of expletives, violence, as well as homosexual characters. With that being said, Walker’s novel has also been hailed as a classic, and saw her become the first black woman to win the Pulitzer for fiction.
The Color Purple musical big screen adaptation currently does not have a cast at this time, but that will more than likely be announced when a writer and director are on board. Scott Sanders is excited to bring the musical to a new audience and says that, “This is an incredibly powerful drama that needs to be shared.” Hopefully more news will be announced in the coming months. The news about The Color Purple musical coming to theaters was first announced by The Hollywood Reporter.