Singer-songwriter Fantasia Barrino will make her feature film debut in The Color Purple movie musical.
Barrino, who grew to fame as the winner of the third season of American Idol, is in final negotiations to play Celie, a role that she played onstage on Broadway in 2007 and for which earned rave reviews. Whoopi Goldberg played the role in Steven Spielberg’s dramatic version of The Color Purple in 1985.
Warner Bros. is behind the feature adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical, itself an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel by Alice Walker, on which the Oscar-nominated Steven Spielberg-directed 1985 movie was based. The story centers on a woman named Celie Harris and tracks her life-long struggles as an African American woman living in the South during the early 1900s.
Blitz Bazawule, the filmmaker behind the Beyoncé-fronted Black Is King, is set to direct the fresh take on the musical. Marcus Gardley penned the screenplay, adapted from Marsha Norman’s book and Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray’s score. The movie is in pre-production with casting beginning to come together and chemistry reads happening now.
Oprah Winfrey, who had her feature acting debut in Spielberg’s The Color Purple and earned an Oscar nomination, is producing via her Harpo Films banner with Spielberg under his Amblin Entertainment. Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones, both of whom were behind the Broadway musical, will also produce. Walker, Rebecca Walker, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Carla Gardini, Adam Fell, and Mara Jacobs executive producing.
Warners has set a release date of December 20, 2023.
Burrino, who has won three Grammys and earned 12 nominations for her recording work since 2006, is repped by ICM Partners.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.