Taraji P. Henson, recently seen as Miss Hannigan in NBC's Annie Live!, will play Shug Avery in the upcoming feature film adaptation of The Color Purple musical, according to Variety. The Warner Bros. film, as previously reported, is slated to hit theatres December 20, 2023.
Oscar and Emmy nominee Henson, best known for her work on screen in Empire, Hidden Figures, and more, joins a cast that includes Corey Hawkins (In the Heights) as Harpo and Oscar and Grammy winner H.E.R. as Squeak.
Margaret Avery played blues singer Shug Avery in the original 1985 film, while the role was created on Broadway in 2005 by Tony nominee Elisabeth Withers-Mendes and later played by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson in the musical's 2015 revival.
As previously announced, Blitz 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 book and Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray’s score (as well as, of course, the Alice Walker novel).
After premiering in 2005 and running for a little over two years, the musical made waves on Broadway once again with a popular 2015 staging. Both LaChanze and Cynthia Erivo earned Tony Awards for their performances as Celie (in the original and revival, respectively).