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The Color Purple Movie Musical Lands Stars From American Idol And Peacemaker

First published in 1982, Alice Walker's beloved novel "The Color Purple" tells the harrowing tale of a young Black woman coming of age in the segregated American South circa the early 1900s. Renowned for its unflinching depictions of abuse and African-American life during that turbulent era, the book would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction (making Walker the first Black woman to claim the award), be adapted into an Oscar-nominated film by Steven Spielberg, and later adapted into a Tony-winning Broadway musical (via Variety).

And yes, "The Color Purple" adaptation saga is about to come full circle, with Warner Bros. now backing a big-screen adaptation of the Broadway show. The new film will be directed by rising star Blitz Bazawule (2018's marvelous "The Burial of Kojo" and Beyoncé's Disney+ hit "Black Is King") and is currently ramping up production for a December 20, 2023, release. Casting is well underway for the production as well, with the likes of Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins, Colman Domingo, and R&B star H.E.R. having already been announced for key roles. And we now know they'll be joined in the film by a pair of equally intriguing talents.

The Color Purple musical is adding a pair of big names to its already impressive cast

First up is Fantasia Barrino, who will surely make good use of her "American Idol"-winning pipes in the musical. Per Deadline, Barrino will play the central role of Celie. As fans of Steven Spielberg's 1985 film know, that role was originated by Whoopi Goldberg, who earned a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination for her work. It's a role Barrino is quite familiar with too, with The Hollywood Reporter noting the singer-songwriter earned rave reviews of her own playing Celie in the 2007 Broadway production.

According to the same Deadline article, Barrino will star alongside another vet of the Broadway musical in Danielle Brooks. Brooks appeared in the 2015 Broadway production of "The Color Purple" as Sofia, who was portrayed by Oprah Winfrey in the 1985 film. Brooks will reprise the role for the new movie, and it was fittingly Winfrey herself who informed Brooks of her casting,via a Zoom call aired during the ABC special "Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising."

Brooks is perhaps best known for her breakout turn as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson on the Netflix hit "Orange Is the New Black." These days, however, she's playing the part of scene-stealer Leota Adebayo alongside John Cena's titular antihero in James Gunn's "Peacemaker" series. With Brooks and Barrino joining the already impressive cast of "The Color Purple," the new film is shaping up to be a suitably star-studded affair.