Purple is definitely our color.
Warner Bros. is developing a big-screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning stage musical The Color Purple, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Color Purple, Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel about Southern black women, was first adapted into Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated 1985 film. It was later adapted into a hit musical that opened on Broadway in 2005 and was revived in 2016.
The musical, featuring a book by Marsha Norman and a score by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, has also toured and grossed more than $350 million worldwide.
The decades-spanning Color Purple tale follows Celie, a poor and uneducated young girl who must learn to triumph over great adversity.
Spielberg joins the musical’s 2005 and 2016 producers—Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Scott Sanders—for the Warner Bros. movie musical.
“We’re really excited to create a film that translates the heart and emotion we found in telling this generational story on stage,” Sanders says in a statement. “This is an incredibly powerful drama that needs to be shared.”
Winfrey made her feature acting debut as Sofia in Spielberg’s movie, which starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie. Both women earned Oscar nominations for their performances.
While that film famously softened the novel’s lesbian relationship between Celie and nightclub singer Shug Avery, the musical embraced it. The Color Purple is considered the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist and the first to depict a same-sex romance between two women of color.
LaChanze earned a Tony for her performance as Celie in the 2005 premiere, and Cynthia Erivo also took home the award as Celie in the revival. Shug was memorably played in the revival by Jennifer Hudson, Heather Headley, and Jennifer Holliday.
No screenwriter, director, or cast has been announced for the Warner Bros. project, which is still in the early stages of development.
Erivo, who has already transitioned to Hollywood with major roles in Bad Times at the El Royale and Widows, would seem to be an obvious choice to reprise her role as Celie.