I found Black Is King to be a gobsmacking visual sensation. The Beyoncé Disney+ visual album reimagining of The Lion King (far superior to the actual live-action Lion King remake) was stuffed with inventive visuals, lensed and constructed with immaculate opulence and intention. That’s why I’m quite excited to hear that the upcoming musical film version of Broadway’s The Color Purple for Warner Bros. will be directed by Black Is King co-director Blitz Bazawule (as reported by Deadline).
The Color Purple‘s group of star-studded producers — Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones — chose Bazawule not just on the strength of his work on Black Is King, but on his solo-directed Netflix Ghanian drama The Burial of Kojo. Winfrey said that “we were all blown away by Blitz’s unique vision as a director and look forward to seeing how he brings the next evolution of this beloved story to life.” Bazaqule is also an accomplished musician himself, working as an experimental hip-hop artist under the name Blitz the Ambassador on albums like Afropolitan Dreams and Diasporadical, in addition to composing the score for Kojo. Based on his multidisciplinary history and wondrous visual work, he feels like an ideal director to tackle The Color Purple.
The first film of The Color Purple, directed by Spielberg and starring Winfrey, was a straight drama based on Alice Walker‘s 1982 novel. It was then adapted into a 2005 Broadway musical, which this new film will be based on, with a screenplay from Marcus Gardley (The Chi). It will be thrilling to see what visual and staging places Bazawule takes the material — will he mimic how it was staged in the theater? go surreal? keep it realistic? — and I’m now a lot more excited about the project.