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Oprah Comes Full Circle with The Color Purple: “That Was My Story” – Monomaxos


Winfrey earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as Sofia, and in 2005, a musical version of The Color Purple debuted on Broadway. The show would be revived in an acclaimed 2015 staging, with Winfrey producing along with Sanders. And in 2018, both Winfrey and Sanders got permission from Spielberg to retell the classic story in a new way for the big screen—after asking him for several years.

“I didn’t really know if The Color Purple had another movie in it until you, and the songwriter, and that cast proved that another iteration could stand on its own, with The Color Purple ’85 version being its context, but not defining it,” explained Spielberg from the stage after Winfrey asked why he finally gave the greenlight. “This had its own definition, and this was relevant for our time for now, for audiences today.”

Spielberg revealed that he was reluctant to direct the original film. “You need a black director for this. That was in 1985, when I said that to Quincy,” said the director. “But he said, ‘Did you have to be an alien to direct E.T.?’ Quincy was very persuasive.” Throughout filming the original, Spielberg realized he had made the right decision. “Alice was on the set everyday, and Alice was very quiet on the set. And after every take, I turned to look at her, and her deeply quiet confidence and those warm eyes told me—‘cause this was my first grown-up movie—told me after every take, ‘you did a good job. Keep going,’” he said. “She gave me all the confidence, the assurance.”

The 2023 film, which arrives in theaters on Dec. 25, diverges from other adaptations mainly by allowing audiences to delve into Celie’s imagination so they can begin to understand her thoughts and point of view. The new movie stars Fantasia Barrino as Celie, Taraji P. Henson as vivacious blues singer Shug Avery, and Danielle Brooks as Sofia, the role that earned her a Tony nomination in 2015. “Watching Danielle Brooks on set as Sofia, making it her own, was deep joy for me,” said Winfrey. “There’s so much satisfaction to pass it on to her.”

Brooks, best known from Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, said playing Sofia was a “dream come true that I could’ve never imagined.” She also thanked Winfrey for guiding her and helping her portray the fan-favorite character.

“Oprah’s given me so much advice, and she’s just poured into me every step of the way. From the minute that she Zoomed me [to tell her she had won the part], she’s been holding my hand through this process and I’m very, very, very grateful for that,” said Brooks on the arrivals carpet. “And Whoopi [Goldberg, who played Celie in the 1985 film], even when I was on Broadway, she signed something for me that said, ‘It’s yours now.’ I still have it, and that’s what I have stood by and lived with too.”

When moviegoers watch the new film, Winfrey hopes its message of forgiveness and joy comes across. “Redemption is possible. That joy is forever,” she said. “This movie is so joyful, and it will uplift you.”



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Meet the author behind the lifestyle inspiration! Antonio brings a unique perspective to the world of lifestyle, weaving together words that captivate and ideas that resonate. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for embracing the richness of everyday life, Antonio invites you on a journey to explore the art of living well.

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