Director Blitz Bazawule's upcoming film adaptation of the 2005 musical The Color Purple, set to star Color Purple stage alumni Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks, has added David Alan Grier, Louis Gossett, Jr., Tamela Mann, Deon Cole, Stephen Hill, and Phylicia Mpasi to its cast, according to Essence. The Warner Bros. film is slated to hit theatres December 20, 2023.
Grier, a 2020 Tony Award winner for his performance in the Broadway revival of A Soldier's Play, will be father to Taraji P. Henson's Shug Avery as Reverend Avery, a role not featured in the stage musical. Gossett, Jr., a Broadway veteran of such productions as A Raisin in the Sun, Golden Boy, and Chicago, will be playing Ol' Mister alongside Broadway Lion King alum Mpasi as Young Celie, Mann as First Lady, Cole as Alfonso, and Hill as Buster.
They join the previously announced Barrino as Celie, Brooks as Sophia, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, and Colman Domingo as Mister.
Bazawule, who co-helmed Beyoncé’s visual album Black Is King, will direct, with Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders, and Steven Spielberg as producers. Marcus Gardley has been tapped to pen the screenplay, adapted from Marsha Norman’s stage book and Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray’s score. The stage musical was adapted from Walker's 1982 Pulitzer-winning novel and its 1985 film adaptation, directed by Spielberg.
The musical debuted on Broadway in 2005, winning original Celie LaChanze a Tony Award for her performance. A 2015 revival helmed by John Doyle won its Celie, Cynthia Erivo, a Tony Award before propelling her to Hollywood stardom. Brooks co-starred with Erivo as Sophia, the role she will reprise in the upcoming movie musical.