Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Broadway veteran Scott Sanders are set to produce a new film version of The Color Purple that Warner Bros. will develop as a feature adaptation of the acclaimed musical, Collider has exclusively learned.
Spielberg famously directed the 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker‘s 1982 novel, which won a Pulitzer Prize, making its author the first black woman to win the Pulitzer for fiction. The original Broadway production of The Color Purple ran from 2005 to 2008, earning 11 Tony Award nominations in 2006. A Broadway revival opened in late 2015 and ran through early 2017, winning two Tony Awards in 2016. The musical featured a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Stephen Bray, Brenda Russell and Alee Willis. The musical has grossed more than $350 million, and half of that figure comes from black audiences, who turned out in record numbers.
The Color Purple follows the journey of Celie, an African-American woman in the deep South from the early to mid-20th century. Celie struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her stepfather, husband, and others over the course of four decades. The film starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Margaret Avery and a young Oprah. All three actresses earned Oscar nominations, and the film itself was also nominated for Best Picture. Jones also picked up a pair of nominations for the film’s original score and the original song “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister),” the latter of which he co-wrote with Rod Temperton and Lionel Richie. Goldberg even won a Golden Globe for her powerful lead performance.
Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale) starred in the 2016 Broadway revival and won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, but it hasn’t been decided whether she’ll reprise her role on the big screen, as casting has yet to begin. In fact, the project doesn’t even have a writer yet, as it’s still in the early stages of development.