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What Makes The Color Purple An Artisan Film

December 25th, 2023What Makes The Color Purple An Artisan Film

THE COLOR PURPLE opens December 25th

One of the most exciting releases coming to AMC Theatres this holiday season is THE COLOR PURPLE — director Blitz Bazawule’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name. However, this version of the powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning story is unlike any version seen on the big screen yet. Before it is released, see how it reinvents the story, and learn why it has been selected as an AMC Artisan Film, below.

Brings A Unique Perspective

Three years after The Color Purple was published, a cinematic adaptation from director Steven Spielberg was released in 1985. Starring Whoopi Goldberg in her first Academy Award®-nominated role as Celie, the film was widely acclaimed and further engrained its important story of perseverance and the power of enduring love into the public consciousness. As Oprah Winfrey — who made her acting debut in the 1985 drama and also received an Oscar® nomination for her supporting role — told the crowd at the Warner Bros. CinemaCon 2023 panel, “It’s not your mama’s COLOR PURPLE, but you mama’s gonna like it.”

Indeed, the new film — which Winfrey is producing alongside Spielberg and Quincy Jones — is a refreshing update on this otherwise classic story. Not only does it serve as yet another adaptation of Walker’s novel, but also attempts to bring the Tony Award-winning stage musical the novel inspired — which Winfrey and Jones also produced in the mid-to-late 2000s — to the big screen. In addition to being moved to tears by its deeply emotional narrative, audiences will be moved by THE COLOR PURPLE’s rousing dance numbers and the cast’s exceptional vocal performances.

Pushes Boundaries And Sparks Conversation

At its core, THE COLOR PURPLE is a deeply personal story, being told all through Celie’s eyes. However, it may also be one that many audiences can identify with or may open their eyes to themes and subjects they never knew or understood before.

Taking place from the 1910s to the 1940s, the story — in addition to Celie’s own journey — follows various Black female characters enduring through their own struggles while living in Georgia. It touches on topics such as faith, cultural identity, and sexual identity in ways that would have gone overlooked or were deemed taboo in this time period.

Unites An Acclaimed Cast

While THE COLOR PURPLE marks her acting debut in a theatrically-released, feature-length film, “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino is already quite familiar with the central character, Celie Harris-Johnson, having portrayed the role in the Broadway musical the film is directly inspired by. Newcomer Phylicia Pearl Mpasi plays Celie’s younger self, alongside THE LITTLE MERMAID’s Halle Bailey as her sister, Nettie, who is portrayed as an adult by pop star Ciara. Colman Domingo — known for his Golden Globe-nominated performance in RUSTIN — stars as Celie’s husband, whom she calls “Mister.”

The star-studded ensemble also includes Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson as a jazz singer named Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks of “Orange is the New Black” fame as Sofia, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON’S Corey Hawkins as Harpo Johnson, and, as Squeak, H.E.R., who won an Oscar in 2021 for her original song, “Fight For You” from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH. Fellow Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. (for AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN) also stars alongside fellow Oscar nominee Aunjunue Ellis (for KING RICHARD), and comedic actors David Alan Grier, from “In Living Color” and Deon Cole of “Black-ish” fame.

Stretches Actors Outside Their Comfort Zones

As established, THE COLOR PURPLE is a world that Fantasia Barrino has explored before on the stage. Not to mention, many of her co-stars are no strangers to musical performances, such as Corey Hawkins, Halle Bailey, Ciara, and H.E.R. — all of whom also have acting experience to boast about. However, for many of its cast members, this film is their first experience with a full fledged cinematic musical.

Despite having played a musician before (such as in Netflix’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM), Coleman Domingo never starred in a musical film before THE COLOR PURPLE and the same goes for Louis Gossett Jr., who did perform in a few musicals in his theater acting days, however. Deon Cole moonlights as a House Music DJ, but has never demonstrated this talent on screen in such a way before. Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks can at least say they have shown their singing talent in movies before — for Henson when she starred in HUSTLE & FLOW and for Brooks when she played the title role of Lifetime’s 2022 biopic, MAHALIA.

Features A Compelling Score

Even the biggest fans most familiar with Alice Walker’s novel and Steven Spielberg’s adaptation can be guaranteed to have a new and refreshing experience with the updated film. Reason being: the music.

For the 1985 edition of THE COLOR PURPLE, the music was composed by Quincy Jones. This time, that responsibility has been given to Kris Bowers, who has a very diverse resume having conducted the score for movies like Justin Simien’s horror-comedy BAD HAIR, Lee Daniels’ THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY, SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY, and CHEVALIER, to name a few. Bowers’ composition, the cast’s swelling vocals, and the vibrant choreography beautifully enhance the already compelling story.

Bring the whole family to see THE COLOR PURPLE when it comes to an AMC Theatres location near you!

 THE COLOR PURPLE opens December 25th

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