The recently released adaptation of The Color Purple is produced by Oprah Winfrey, who starred in the 1985 Steven Spielberg film. Another star from that film appears in the 2023 rendition, which Winfrey says was a great Easter egg for fans.
In the newest film, Whoopi Goldberg — who starred in the 1985 film as Celie Harris Johnson — briefly appears in the 2023 version as a midwife who helps young Celie (played by Phylicia Pearl Mpasi) give birth to her second child.
According to Winfrey in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey said that it was a great homage to Whoopi, as well as a great nod to the fans.
“[We] just thought it was a wonderful Easter egg for audiences who have appreciated the film over the years, for the diehards,” Winfrey said. “And we also thought it was a lovely homage to Whoopi.”
Winfrey also said that she declined to appear in the film, despite also starring in the 1985 version as Sofia.
“Actually, I thought about it, it would’ve been good in the church scene, but I thought it would also be distracting when Sofia is getting married that if the old original Sofia was just one of the people in the church, and then they were shooting that in the middle of Georgia when COVID was [spreading] like, ‘OK, well I ain’t sitting in that church all day anyway,’” said Winfrey. “And also I just think it’s more special that it’s just Whoopi.”
Who is in The Color Purple?
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple is directed by Black Is King filmmaker Blitz Bazawule from a screenplay written by Marcus Gardley. The musical drama stars Taraji P. Henson as Shrug Avery, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle Bailey as young Nettie, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Mama, Louis Gossett Jr. as Mister Johnson, David Alan Grier as Rev. Samuel, Deon Cole as Alfonso, Tamela J. Mann as First Lady, Jon Batiste as Grady, Stephen Hill as Buster, Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie, and Fantasia Barrino as Celie in her major motion picture debut.
The film centers around the extraordinary sisterhood of three women who share one unbreakable bond. It follows Celie and other African-American women in the Southern United States in the 1930s and their struggles with racism and living in the lower social class. Celie also struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from various men in her life over the years.
The Color Purple musical film is produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, who have worked together on the 1985 film adaptation. Joining Spielberg and Winfrey as producers are Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones with Alice Walker, Rebecca Walker, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Carla Gardini and Mara Jacobs serving as executive producers.