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People can’t get over the new trailer for The Color Purple, starring Halle Bailey

The first trailer has just been released for a new musical adaptation of The Color Purple, Steven Spielberg’s hit Eighties film.

The film, which is based on the 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker, follows the life of Celie Harris Johnson, an African-American girl who grows up in the American South in the early 20th century.

The film deals with the difficult reality of life as a black woman at the time and touches on domestic violence, poverty, racism, and sexism.

But despite the content, the new trailer is filled with as many scenes of singing and joy as of tragedy and heartbreak. There are scenes of dancing, beautiful scenery, and intimate exchanges, as well as of nightclubs and of exquisite 1920s theatre performances.

Phylicia Mpasi and Halle Bailey as the young Celie and Nettie (The Color Purple - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland)
Phylicia Mpasi and Halle Bailey as the young Celie and Nettie (The Color Purple - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland)

“This sounds and looks amazing! Here because of Halle Bailey, but the entire cast is great!” commented one fan on the video. “I wish my grandma was here to see this. She loved the original!” said another.

The new adaptation, which will be released in the UK in January, stars R&B singer Fantasia in the lead role, with The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi (Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies), Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), Colman Domingo (Selma), and Corey Hawkins (The Tragedy of Macbeth).

It has been directed by rapper-filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, and has been produced by Steven Spielberg, alongside Scott Sanders, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones, who were all producers of the award-winning musical adaptation of the novel.

Phylicia Mpasi as the young Celie (The Color Purple - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland)
Phylicia Mpasi as the young Celie (The Color Purple - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland)

The film is also absolutely rammed full of stars: musicians H.E.R., Ciara, Tamela Mann and Jon Batiste, and actors Aunjanue Ellis, Louis Gossett Jr., David Alan Grier, Deon Cole and Elizabeth Marvel all feature.

The latest film adaptation is a far leap from Walker’s original work, and bears more similarities to the first film, which was directed by Spielberg and was released in 1985.

Writing about Spielberg’s original adaptation The New York Times said: “Mr. Spielberg has looked on the sunny side of Miss Walker’s novel, fashioning a grand, multi-hanky entertainment that is as pretty and lavish as the book is plain. If the book is set in the harsh, impoverished atmosphere of rural Georgia, the movie unfolds in a cozy, comfortable, flower-filled wonderland.” The original book by Alice Walker made its author the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery (The Color Purple - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland)
Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery (The Color Purple - Official Trailer - Warner Bros. UK & Ireland)

The original film adaptation starred Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Margaret Avery, Rae Dawn Chong and Oprah Winfrey. Whoopi Goldberg played the older Celie Harris Johnson.

It was Spielberg’s first go at an adult adaptation – previously the director had been known for his fun fantasy flicks – but he proved that he could make the transition: the film picked up ten Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also made a tidy profit: the film made $98.4 million at the Box Office on a $15 million budget.

The Color Purple is set to be released in the UK on January 26, 2024