Way back in 1985 Steven Spielberg directed his first ‘grown up’ film with The Colour Purple a decades-spanning tale of love and resilience and of one woman’s journey to independence. Celie faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood based on the prize winning novel by Alice walker. It received 11 Oscar nominations and famously won nothing ( but the film propelled the early career of Whoopi Goldberg, who received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her turn as Celie) so why has Spielberg agreed to The Color Purple remake?
Oprah Winfrey, who produced the original Broadway show, starred as Sofia in the Spielberg pic (and received a Best Supporting Actress nomination) and is producer here on the latest movie, told the crowd last night, “This film couldn’t have happened without the original, and couldn’t have happened without Steven Spielberg allowing it to happen.”
“We’ve been asking him for several years,” said Winfrey about approaching Spielberg for the OK to do a musical remake of the original film. “Steven wasn’t sure, then he said yes in 2018,” she continued.
Spielberg replied, “What made me say ‘yes’ was your production of The Color Purple musical on Broadway, which I thought was extraordinary,” said Spielberg, “I didn’t really know if Color Purple had another movie in it……You and the songwriters, and that cast proved that there was another iteration that could actually stand on its own,” he continued, “My version being its context, but not defining it. This was relevant for our time for now for audiences today, and I entrusted Scott (Sanders) and Oprah.”
Spielberg told the crowd that when Quncy Jones first approached him to direct the novel back in 1984, the director said, “But you need a black director for this.”
“Quincy insisted it would be you,” added Winfrey.
Spielberg continued, “He (Jones) said, ‘Did you have to be an alien to direct E.T.? and I said, ‘Actually, I am an alien!’”
And that’s why Spielberg agreed to The Color Purple remake?
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