Less than a week after Apple and Paramount debuted the first trailer for 2024 Oscars hopeful “Killers of the Flower Moon,” another presumed awards contender has taken its first bow in the spotlight. On Monday, Warner Bros. released the first trailer for “The Color Purple,” filmmaker Blitz Bazawule’s adaptation of the Alice Walker novel and subsequent musical.
Originally adapted for the screen by Steven Spielberg in 1985, “The Color Purple” was turned into a Broadway production in 2005 and revived again in 2015. Throughout its life, the property has been an awards magnet. The 1985 film was nominated 11 times at the Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Whoopi Goldberg and Best Supporting Actress for Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey. On Broadway, the original production landed multiple Tony Award nominations and won Best Actress in a Musical for LaChanze. The 2015 revival also won Best Actress honors for Cynthia Erivo while netting a Best Featured Actress in a Musical nomination for Danielle Brooks.
All of that history bodes well for Fantasia Barrino, the former “American Idol” winner who makes her feature acting debut in “The Color Purple” in the lead role of Celine, which was previously played by Goldberg, LaChanze, and Erivo. (Barrino played the part on Broadway in 2007.) Likewise, Brooks is back from the Broadway revival to play Sofia (the part that landed Winfrey her first Oscar nomination). Other cast members include Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery (the role Margaret Avery played in the 1985 film), Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, and Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as young Celine. Winfrey, Spielberg, and Quincy Jones are aboard as producers.
“I was standing beside some amazing actors, who made me step my game up,” Barrino said at CinemaCon last month. Barrino played Celine for a year on Broadway and said there were a lot of similarities between her personal life and stage character. “My life was so much like hers at the time, so stepping into her shoes night after night was heavy,” Barrino said. “So I had to pull up some things that I had buried, but I felt safe doing it because my director and cast surrounded me and I was able to go back into that place. I am Celie.”
Speaking to the assembled theater owners and press at CinemaCon, Barrino added, “You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna cry, everybody brings it. But in the end, you’ll be healed. Because guess what? I was healed.”
“The Color Purple” is expected to be a major awards player this year but audiences and pundits won’t get to see it for a bit. The Warner Bros. film is set to premiere on December 25. Watch the first trailer below.
PREDICT the 2023 Emmy nominees through July 12
Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?
SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions