Taraji P. Henson is busting down doors and taking names as fan favorite character Shug in the upcoming movie musical adaptation of “The Color Purple.” Based on the acclaimed Alice Walker novel, filmmaker Blitz Bazawule‘s film follows Celie (Fantasia Barrino) as she finds solace and perhaps more with Henson’s dazzling jazz singer Shug.
Star Barrino reprises the role of Celie after previously portraying the character in the Broadway show from 2007 to 2008 before embarking on the national tour in 2010. The Broadway show began in 2005 and was later revived in 2015, with Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo among the actresses who played Celie onstage. “The Little Mermaid” breakout Halle Bailey plays the younger version of Celie in the film that spans decades.
“Maid” writer and playwright Marcus Gardley penned the script, based on Walker’s novel and the musical stage play book by Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Danielle Brooks, H.E.R., Ciara, Bailey, Louis Gosset Jr., David Alan Grier, Aunjanue Ellis, and more stars round out the enviable ensemble cast.
“The Color Purple” is produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, who were both behind the 11-time Oscar-nominated 1985 novel adaptation which starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie. Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones also produce the 2023 musical version. Frequent Guillermo del Toro collaborator Dan Laustsen serves as the cinematographer.
The film’s official synopsis reads: “A story of love and resilience, ‘The Color Purple’ is a decades-spanning tale of one woman’s journey to independence. Celie faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.
Producer Winfrey teased the film as an effort of “magical realism” that centers on Celie’s endurance of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of her father. “They are survivors because of their inner strength, and that is how Celie especially finds her voice,” Winfrey said at 2023 CinemaCon. “And in this film, boy does she have a voice.”
“The Color Purple” premieres December 25 in theaters. Check out the trailer below.