H.E.R. will make her big screen debut in the upcoming film adaptation of the Broadway musical version of The Color Purple.
The Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer is set to play Squeak — a juke joint waitress/aspiring singer — in the film adaptation produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg, the 1985 film’s star and director, the Hollywood Reporter writes.
Rae Dawn Chong played the role of Squeak in the Spielberg film, while Krisha Marcano portrayed the character in the original Broadway cast.
Based on the Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and adapted from the 1985 film, the Tony-winning musical — which starred Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo during its 2015 revival — first announced plans to produce a feature film in 2018. Following a lengthy development that began in 2018, the adaptation has added Beyonce’s Black Is King collaborator Blitz Bazawule as director.
Warner Bros., which will release The Color Purple adaptation, has set a release date of December 23rd, 2023 for the big screen musical. The Hollywood Reporter adds that In the Heights star Corey Hawkins is set to play Harpo in the adaptation.
The roles played by Erivo (Celie) and Hudson (Shug Avery) in the 2015 revival have not yet been cast. 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.”
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