News that Taylor and Brooks will play leads Celie and Sofia, respectively, was announced Thursday during ABC’s “Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising” special.
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Both actresses reprise their roles from the stage production. While “American Idol” season 3 winner Taylor made her Broadway debut as Celie in the original production back in 2007, Brooks’ onstage performance as Sofia in show’s revival earned her a 2016 Tony award nomination.
On Thursday night, Taylor, 37, shared a clip of the phone call confirming she had been cast in the leading role with her 4.6 million Instagram followers.
“As I sit tonight and reflect on the journey my life has taken I believe I now understand what Redemption truly feels like. The last time I stepped into this character, the similarities between what I portrayed on stage and what I experienced in my own reality were too close for comfort. I’ve learned since then that my pain was only an introduction to a greater purpose of meaning and assignment,” the caption read.
The “When I See You” hitmaker went on to add that she hoped that “every little black girl who is fighting to be heard and recognized also promises to never give up in spite of the costs.”
Brooks, best known for playing inmate Tasha ‘Taystee’ Jefferson in Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” announced the casting news to her 2.4 million Instagram followers with a clip of the emotional moment Oprah Winfrey revealed that she was chosen during a Zoom call.
“Blessings upon blessings. Firstly, Thank you God. Secondly, So beyond grateful to @oprah for trusting me with playing, once again, this powerhouse of a woman,” the 32-year-old star wrote. “She put her foot in that role and helped to change so many lives. I pray to do the same. The journey to getting to this moment was very humbling but I wouldn’t change it for the world!! I can’t wait to share Sofia with this next generation.”
“The Color Purple” – a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker – follows the struggles of Celie, an African-American woman living in the South during the early 1900s. It was previously adapted for the big screen in 1985. The Oscar-nominated movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and Winfrey as Sofia.
“It has been a vehicle for magic and purpose in my life,” Winfrey told Vanity Fair. “I don’t know anybody who’s ever been associated with it whose life didn’t get enhanced.”
According to Vanity Fair, Winfrey, Spielberg and Quincy Jones are among the producers of the new movie, which will be directed by Blitz Bazawule, the filmmaker behind Beyoncé’s “Black is King.”
Taylor and Brooks join a stellar cast that includes Colman Domingo, Halle Bailey, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R. and Taraji P. Henson.