‘The Color Purple’: New Musical Film Adaptation Adds Jon Batiste!!

Jon Batiste has joined the cast of the upcoming musical film version of The Color Purple. According to Variety, Batiste will play Grady in the film. Grady is a pianist, who is described as sweet-talking and charming. He is married to Shug Avery (played by Taraji P. Henson). Grady was previously played by Ben Guillory in director Steven Spielberg‘s 1985 film version.

As a musician, Batiste has released multiple studio albums, including 2005’s Times in New Orleans, 2013’s Jazz Is Now, and 2021’s We Are. He also won an Academy Award for Best Original Score for Pixar‘s 2020 film Soul (directed by Pete Docter). Joining Grady and Henson in the film will be the previously announced Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Coleman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Ciara, Elizabeth Marvel, David Alan Grier, Tamala J. Mann, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Deon Cole, Stephen Hill, Louis Gossett Jr., and Aunjanue Ellis.

The film will follow Celie (Barrino), a Black woman in the American South at the start of the 20th century, who has a personal awakening. It will be directed by Blitz Bazawule who previously directed 2020’s Black Is King and 2018’s The Burial of Kojo. The film’s script was written by Marcus Gardley. It is based on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker who will be a producer for the film. It is also based on the 2005 Broadway musical version. Oprah Winfrey will also serve as a producer for the film through her production company Harpo Films. Winfrey played Sofia in the 1985 film version, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. “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,” Winfrey previously said about the upcoming film.

Also serving as producers on the new film are Spielberg, through Amblin Entertainment, Scott Sanders, producer for the 2005 Broadway musical version, and Quincy Jones who produced both the 1985 film and the Broadway musical. He also wrote the score for the 1985 film. Rebecca Walker, Mara Jacobs, Carla Gardini, Kristie Macosko Krieger, and Adam Fell will be executive producers for the film. It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Filming on the movie began earlier this month.

The Color Purple is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2023. In the meantime, fans can hear Batiste‘s previous work in Pixar‘s Soul, which is currently available to stream on Disney+.


via Collider

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