Most big-time film fans know the saga of 1985's The Color Purple at the Academy Awards. Despite being nominated for 11 Oscars, the film infamously came away empty-handed that year. Well, Hollywood loves a comeback story most of all, so The Color Purple could very well get another chance – as a big-screen musical.
The Hollywood Reporter says Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders (who produced the Tony Award-winning Broadway version) are working with Warner Bros. on a movie adaptation of the musical.
Remember that the entire affair began in the '80s with the 1982 book by Alice Walker about the lifelong story of an African-American woman named Celie struggling in the poverty, domestic violence and racism of the early 20th century (played by Whoopi Goldberg, who won an Golden Globe for her performance). Winfrey co-starred (in her acting debut) along with Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Adolph Caesar and Rae Dawn Chong.
A musical version of the book/movie first hit Broadway in 2005 and ironically also received 11 Tony Award nominations. Subsequent revivals have also landed Tony nods (along with a handful of wins for actress Cynthia Erivo).
"We're really excited to create a film that translates the heart and emotion we found in telling this generational story on stage," Sanders told THR. "This is an incredibly powerful drama that needs to be shared."
The project is a long way from the big screen. Finding a writer and casting the movie remain on the to-do list.
FIVE THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE COLOR PURPLE:
1. Aside from the 11 Oscar nominations, the other big notable Academy Award quirk was that Spielberg wasn't nominated for Best Director. It was the only Best Picture nominee that year not to be nominated for Best Director.
2. Book author Alice Walker was convinced about Spielberg directing when she saw E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and decided that E.T. was treated like "a person of color."
3. Goldberg won the part of Celie by auditioning for Spielberg as a stoned E.T. getting arrested in Oakland for possession. Her audition was attended by Jones and Michael Jackson.
4. Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan and Diana Ross were considered for the role of Shug Avery.
5. Walker was reportedly horrified with the finished movie but changed her mind at the premiere of the film when it was greeted enthusiastically by the audience. She has told interviewers she now likes the movie, but considers it a different story than the one portrayed in her book.