“I was timid”: Steven Spielberg Was Embarrassed as Critics Felt a Black Director Should Have Had His Job in Oprah Winfrey’s First Hollywood Movie

"I was timid": Steven Spielberg Was Embarrassed as Critics Felt a Black Director Should Have Had His Job in Oprah Winfrey's First Hollywood Movie
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Although the world hails Steven Spielberg as one of the greatest directors of all time, the filmmaker himself appears to be his greatest critic. Despite having several cinematic hits under his belt, the director seems to find this iconic movie featuring Oprah Winfrey, as his personal disappointment.

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Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

Reflecting upon his iconic catalog of movies, Steven Spielberg picked out the 1985 film The Color Purple to dissect. Despite having impressive achievements associated with the movie, the director recalled the wave of criticism he faced over its portrayal of men and women of color. 

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Also read: “You’re f**king up”: Oprah Forced to Intervene after Jamie Foxx Almost Ruined His Career Following 2005 Movie Oscar Win

Steven Spielberg Recalled Criticism Over The Color Purple

While Oprah Winfrey’s 1985 debut, The Color Purple, based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was a massive success, the director faced heavy criticism following his work of art. Despite being a commercial success and winning 11 Oscar nominations, Steven Spielberg was brutally slammed over the portrayal of men and women of color. 

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The Color Purple
The Color Purple (1985)

Evidently, there was one change that Spielberg made to the classic, which not only brought him brutal trolling but also left the author upset. Being in his 40s, the director wanted to stretch himself with a mature story, and thus he turned the gritty and raw epistolary novel into a soft and pretty movie featuring Oprah Winfrey. This particular transformation not only wrecked the backdrop of the story but also offended people. 

Steven Spielberg is counted among the greatest directors of Hollywood
Spielberg was heavily criticized for his 1985 movie

Recalling the scenes from the book, Steven Spielberg mentioned, “I was timid. I was just a little embarrassed”, which led him to make unnecessary changes to the movie. Thus, Spielberg’s softcore take on the novel made people believe that a director of color would have handled the project better. However, years later, people’s dream finally seems to come true as Blitz Bazawule brings forth a 2023 remake of the coming-of-age period drama.   

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Also read: “It’s blood money, I did not take a single dollar”: Steven Spielberg Refused to Take Any Money From the Profits Of His Movie That Won 7 Oscars

Oprah Winfrey’s Remarks On The Color Purple Remake 

Almost four decades later, people are finally hoping to see the authentic representation of Alice Walker’s novel, through Blitz Bazawule’s 2023 remake. Previously wishing for a director of color to dip their hands in the project, fans had been criticizing Steven Spielberg’s take on the 1985 film The Color Purple.  

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Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey shared via Instagram

However, while the director, author, and the audience at large, were heavily disappointed with the 1985 cult classic, Oprah Winfrey seemed to be always supportive of the project. While previously making her Hollywood debut through The Color Purple, the actress currently commented on Bazawule’s 2023 remake of the novel. 

Sharing the trailer on her Instagram handle, Oprah Winfrey praised the remake to be a “bold new take on the beloved classic”. Writing a caption underneath the trailer video that she shared via her social media handle, the actress mentioned, “The Color Purple, a bold new take on the beloved classic, will be in theaters Christmas Day”. 

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Oprah Winfrey
Winfrey and Spielberg are set to produce The Color Purple remake

Interestingly, after facing criticism over his take on Alice Walker’s novel, Steven Spielberg seems to wash his hands with the recent remake, by producing the film alongside Oprah Winfrey. 

Watch The Color Purple (1985) on Disney+. 

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The 2023 remake, The Color Purple is scheduled to release on 25th December 2023. 

Read more: “I didn’t feel that I was worth it”: $2.5 Billion Rich Oprah Winfrey Offered to Carry Water For Steven Spielberg to Make Her Dreams Come True

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Source: Time, Instagram

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Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1000 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.