The musical is based on the 2005 Broadway show that put the Oscar-nominated 1985 film – itself an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel by Alice Walker – to music. A 2016 revival of the musical, starring Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo, won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
Both Winfrey and Jones, along with Scott Sanders, produced the original Broadway musical; Jones also co-produced and contributed the score to the 1985 film, while Winfrey made her big-screen acting debut in The Color Purple, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Sanders said of the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical, “We’re really excited to create a film that translates the heart and emotion we found in telling this generational story on stage. This is an incredibly powerful drama that needs to be shared.”
No director, writer or cast decisions for the musical’s cinematic adaptation have been announced. THR leaves open the possibility that Erivo, the Widows actress who won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Celie in the 2016 revival, could reprise the role in the adaptation.
In 2016, Rolling Stone talked with Erivo about her show-stopping rendition of the musical’s “I’m Here.” “I feel super proud to be able to sing that song because I feel like it’s not specifically just for me,” Erivo said. “I feel like it’s for all people who need a moment to check in with themselves and realize that they themselves are OK, and they don’t need many things to make them OK. I feel like that isn’t specifically just for Celie; I think that she sings it for everyone else as well.”