Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks are set to star in the upcoming Warner Bros. movie musical The Color Purple.
American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia will play Celie and Orange Is the New Black actress Brooks will co-star as Sofia.
News of the casting came Thursday night during the ABC News special Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising. During the special, Brooks shared details about a recent Zoom call she had with Oprah Winfrey after multiple casting rounds for the film.
“This beautiful Black woman in purple comes up on the screen and it was Miss Oprah Winfrey,” Brooks said. “It was Mama O!”
Winfrey played Sofia in the 1985 Warner Bros. theatrical version from director Steven Spielberg.
“I am here representing all things purple to tell you that you are our Sofia. I’m so happy to pass whatever baton from 35 — almost 40 — years ago to you. And I know you’re gonna kill it,” Winfrey said.
“My heart is so full,” an emotional Brooks responded. “I’m going to make you so proud.”
“You already have,” Winfrey said. “I wanted to be the one to tell you because you know I have such love for her, this character, everything she represents and everything she brought to my life. And what I’m hoping is that she does the same thing for you.”
Previously announced cast members joining the movie musical include Taraji P. Henson, H.E.R., Corey Hawkins and Halle Bailey. Ghanian filmmaker Blitz Bazawule (The Burial of Kojo, Black Is King) is directing the upcoming film, which will be released in 2023.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from Alice Walker that inspired the 1985 film and Broadway musical tells the coming-of-age story of a group of Black women — Celie and her two friends — living in rural Georgia in the 1930s.
In the original film, Whoopi Goldberg played Celie and Margaret Avery portrayed Shug. The film was a box office hit, grossing $142 million against a budget of $15 million. Goldberg, Avery and Winfrey all received Academy Award nominations for their performances.
The first musical version of The Color Purple appeared on Broadway in 2005. Barrino played the role of Celie from 2007 to 2008 during the original Broadway run. Brooks earned a Tony nod for playing Sofia in the Broadway revival, which ran from 2015 to 2017.
Brooks’ most recent acting role was in Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia as gospel icon and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson.
Watch a clip from Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising below:
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 4, 2022