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The Color Purple musical movie reveals initial casting

Corey Hawkins from In the Heights is reportedly heading to The Color Purple – though it's still a long way off!

Corey Hawkins
© David Gordon

Deadline is reporting that In the Heights star Corey Hawkins is heading for The Color Purple!

Hawkins is set to take on the role of Harpo in the upcoming film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, and tells the story of heroine Celie over 40 years as she finds her place in the world. It has a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.

The reports have said that other performers are currently screen testing with Hawkins, suggesting that his part is set in stone. Hawkins was a pretty dab tenor in In the Heights, as anyone who's seen the film will attest.

Director Blitz Bazawule (who recently oversaw Beyoncé's Black is King visual album) has signed on to helm the feature, which has not yet released casting. The film will reportedly head to cinemas on December 20, 2023, presented by Warner Bros.

Walker's tale was first adapted for the screen in 1985 with direction by Steven Spielberg. He produces the remake, alongside Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones. The original Broadway production starred LaChanze, in a Tony-winning turn, as Celie.

The show was first staged in the US in 2005 and in the UK at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2013, with that production then transferring to Broadway where it ran until 2017.

The upcoming movie is set to be produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones, which has a screenplay by Marcus Gardley. Walker's book was previously adapted into a film in 1985 (nominated for 11 Oscars), starring Whoopi Goldberg and directed by Spielberg.

A recent revival of the show (co-produced by Curve Leicester and Birmingham Hippodrome) won the 2020 WhatsOnStage Award for Best Regional Production.

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