Oscar-Nominated Star Oprah Winfrey Credits Steven Spielberg With Making Color Purple Musical Happen

Steven Spielberg's permission allowed Oprah Winfrey to proceed with the musical remake of The Color Purple, which the director was initially conflicted about.

Oscar-Nominated Star Oprah Winfrey Credits Steven Spielberg With Making Color Purple Musical Happen

SUMMARY

  • The new musical remake of The Color Purple, led by Oprah Winfrey, wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Steven Spielberg's permission.
  • Steven Spielberg was initially conflicted about the musical remake until he saw the Broadway musical.
  • Whoopi Goldberg defended the choice of Steven Spielberg being the one to adapt the Pulitzer-winning novel, stating no one other than him stepped forward at the time.
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After almost 40 years since Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel, a musical adaptation of The Color Purple is set to hit theatres this December. Oprah Winfrey, who starred in the original and earned an Oscar-nom under her belt for her portrayal of Sofia, serves as an executive producer in the 2023 musical remake alongside Steven Spielberg.

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And per the Oscar-nominated actor, whose career took off thanks to Spielberg’s adaptation, the musical adaptation wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the Jaws filmmaker’s permission.

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Also read: “I’m not prepared to discuss that I’m gay”: Robin Williams Protected His Co-star Who Was Scared to Talk to Oprah Winfrey With a Sassy Answer

The Color Purple
The Color Purple (1985)

Steven Spielberg Was Initially Conflicted About the Musical Remake of The Color Purple

Initially, Steven Spielberg was conflicted about the idea of a musical remake, as he wasn’t sure if The Color Purple had another movie in it. But it was the Broadway musical, produced by Scott Sanders and Oprah Winfrey, that made him permit Winfrey to move forward with the remake. Spielberg, who founded the Broadway show Spectacular, which also earned Sanders his second Tony award in 2016, said (via Deadline),

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“What made me say ‘yes’ was your production of The Color Purple musical on Broadway, which I thought was extraordinary,” said Spielberg, “I didn’t really know if Color Purple had another movie in it. You and the songwriters, and that cast proved that there was another iteration that could actually stand on its own. My version being its context, but not defining it. This was relevant for our time for now for audiences today, and I entrusted Scott (Sanders) and Oprah.”

The upcoming musical remake, which is set to release on Christmas, will further avoid one aspect that landed the 1985 adaptation in hot waters, even though it bagged 11 Oscar noms.

Also read: “Would you say you lost your mind”: Oprah Winfrey’s Response to Dave Chappelle Did Not Make Her Fans Happy

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the color purple 2023
The Color Purple (2023)

Whoopi Goldberg Addressed One Major Complaint Against 1985’s The Color Purple

The upcoming remake of The Color Purple is being led by Ghanaian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule instead of a white filmmaker, which was one of the major criticisms behind the original. However, Whoopi Goldberg, who earned an Oscar nom for Best Actress for playing Celie in the film, never agreed with the skepticism that many had about Steven Spielberg being the one to adapt the novel. Being a huge fan of Alice Walker’s work herself, Goldberg explained that apart from Spielberg, no one stepped forward to bring the story to the big screen. She told the New York Times:

“Whoever was out there at the time could have done it, but they didn’t,”

Also read: “They are a bunch of girls, what do they need more money for?”: Oprah Winfrey Threatened to Quit Her Show After Insulting Response From Her Boss

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Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg on the set of The Color Purple.
Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg on the set of The Color Purple.

It’s understandable why the choice of Steven Speilberg didn’t exactly sit well with some following the subject matter the story dealt with. But with Blitz Bazawule the one to lead the remake, fans will hope the Black Is King director can hit it out of the park with this one.

The Color Purple is available to stream on Max.

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Written by Santanu Roy

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel, and The Platters. Having expertise in everything related to Batman, Santanu spends most of his time watching and learning films, with Martin Scorsese and Park Chan-wook being his personal favorites. Apart from pursuing a degree in animation, he also possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a writer at Fandomwire with over 1000 articles.