The first public screening of the upcoming film The Color Purple was an emotional and transformative experience for Oprah Winfrey and the entire cast. Speaking at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Winfrey and her co-stars delved into the spiritual and divine impact that the story had on their lives.
Wearing a lilac sequined outfit in a nod to the musical, Winfrey spoke passionately about the profound effect that The Color Purple had on her. As a producer on the musical and an Oscar nominee for her role as Sophia in the 1985 film adaptation, Winfrey revealed how the Alice Walker book helped her come to terms with the sexual abuse she endured as a child. She explained that the book provided her with the language to understand and express what had happened to her, sharing a deeply personal part of her life with the audience.
Starring in the movie was a dream come true for Winfrey, one that she described as a moment that “changed everything” for her. Reflecting on the joy of returning to the material as the film’s producer, she expressed that it was a full-circle moment for her career.
Winfrey also spoke of the importance of passing the torch to Danielle Brooks, who plays the role of Sophia in the musical adaptation. Brooks was visibly moved as she discussed the impact of the role on her own life and how Winfrey had given her the freedom to make the character her own.
Fantasia Barrino, who was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Celie in the Broadway musical adaptation of The Color Purple, shared her experience of initially passing on the opportunity to reprise the role in the film. She credited director Blitz Bazawule for convincing her to take on the role and allowing her to see the transformative power of the character’s journey.
Taraji P. Henson, who plays Shug Avery, revealed that she needed persuasion to take on the role in the musical film but ultimately acknowledged that some opportunities are destined for you. She expressed that the film’s impact would be iconic and timeless.
Amidst the emotional revelations, Brooks also took a moment to acknowledge the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike, celebrating the fact that the actors were able to promote the film after a period of uncertainty.
The panel at the screening also included other cast members such as Corey Hawkins, Halle Bailey, H.E.R., and Phylica Pearl Mpsai. Each member of the ensemble brought their own perspective and experience to the table, adding depth and diversity to the discussion.
The Color Purple holds significant meaning for its cast and creators, offering a deeply personal and transformative experience for those involved. As the film prepares to hit theaters on Christmas Day, the emotional and spiritual journey that the cast has undergone promises to resonate with audiences in a powerful and profound way.