Twenty years after I played Sofia The colour purple, I became a producer for the Broadway musical. Now I’m proud and truly blessed to be one of the four producers bringing the motion picture musical to the big screen. This upcoming version of the film has been a dream of mine and Broadway producer Scott Sanders for many years. So we turned to original director Steven Spielberg and founding producer Quincy Jones for their permission and blessing to work with director Blitz Bazawule and screenwriter Marcus Gardley to create a reimagined, evolved version of the Broadway show for a new generation by spectators. If you liked the original, I guarantee you’ll be delighted when you see this version.
I recently took my first work trip in two and a half years and flew to Savannah, Georgia to visit the set of the film. wouldn’t you know It took The colour purple to get me to finally leave my house. And of course Gayle joined me. She finished recording CBS morning at 9 o’clock she got on a plane and was with us in the afternoon.
I unexpectedly burst into tears of joy upon my very first sight of the gifted Danielle Brooks, who played Sofia on Broadway and now in this reincarnation. It felt like the baton was really being passed in one of the most special moments of my life. We both hugged and cried ugly together.
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You all know that movies are shot out of order, which can often be a challenge. On the actors’ first day of shooting together, they actually had to shoot the very last scene of the film. So they all had to muster “end of the movie” energy at the beginning of the shooting schedule. Fantasia who plays Celie, Taraji P. Henson as Shug, Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, Danielle Brooks and Ciara as the older Nettie, all rose brilliantly to the moment in that final scene as Nettie with Celie’s children from Africa returns. As Gayle and I watched the cast perform the finale, we couldn’t help but give a standing ovation. We almost ruined the scene with our clapping and screaming, but they were so amazing it felt like we were at a concert.
There were so many amazing day players supporting this scene. In the final scene of the day, everyone broke out to dance and sing around the electric slide. Every person I spoke to, from the camera crew to the hair and makeup team, was thrilled to be there. It was a happy set and it was just the beginning of a three month shoot.
I can tell you with certainty that this version does not belong to your mother Color Purple. But I bet you, your mom and the whole family will love it. It’s full of magical realism and visual surprises. It’s beautiful and happy. It’s hopeful and proud. And it carries iconic depth and meaning. All the things that I think people will feel when they see the film are coming Christmas 2023.
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