Steven Spielberg’s wonderful movie adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel The Colour Purple garnered 11 Oscar nominations back in 1985. Bizarrely, it didn’t win anything, although at least someone saw sense and gave Whoopi Goldberg the Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of protagonist Celie.
Oprah is one of the producers of the stage musical, alongside Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders, who will also be working on the movie version.
Walker’s decades-spanning story tells of the life of a poor, uneducated black girl growing up in the deep South of America. Abused by her stepfather and given away to a man who further abuses her, she writes letters to God in an attempt to make some sense of her life.
The novel won Walker the Pullitzer Prize for fiction – making her the first woman of colour to receive the accolade. It was also banned in several places in USA because of its ‘challenging’ handling of race, sexuality, social issues and man’s relationship with God.
The musical version of the novel hit Broadway in 2005. It got 11 Tony nominations, and again didn’t win any.
It was revived in 2016, and finally won two Tonys, an Emmy and a Grammy for writers Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. It also changed Broadway audiences, gaining a 50% audience make up from the black community, rather than the usual single digit make up.
As yet developers Warner Bros. have not made any casting decisions or decided on a writer for the project, so no further details are available.