Fantasia Taylor will star as Celie and Danielle Brooks will play Sofia in Warner Bros’ film adaptation of the musical The Color Purple, with both reprising their respective roles on Broadway. The news was revealed Thursday during ABC’s Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising special.
Fantasia and Brooks join a cast that already includes Taraji P. Henson, H.E.R. and Halle Bailey in the film, which is being directed by Blitz Bazawule. It begins production this spring and is slated for a 2023 release.
As part of the reveal tonight, Oprah Winfrey, who played Sofia in the original 1985 movie based on Alice Walker’s novel that was nominated for 11 Oscars, gave Brooks the news over Zoom.
“I am here representing all things purple to tell you that you are our Sophia,” Winfrey said. “I’m so happy to pass whatever baton from 35 — almost 40 — years ago to you. And I know you’re gonna kill it.”
Fantasia, who hit the scene as the American Idol Season 3 winner, will again play Celie who Whoopi Goldberg played in the film directed by Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film adaptation of Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
The new film is a musical version of the work that ran on Broadway from 2005-2008. Fantasia played the role of Celie from 2007-2008 during the run. Brooks earned a Tony for playing Sofia in the revival, which ran from 2015-2017.
The original Broadway musical won one Tony and the revival won two.