With The Color Purple being a musical remake of the 1985 film, there are certainly many scenes that hearken back to the original.
Early on in the film, Whoopi Goldberg, Oscar-nominated for her role as Celie in the original, is cast as a midwife who helps young Celie, played by Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, give birth to her second child.
Oprah Winfrey, who starred alongside Goldberg in the original and is a producer on the new film, told in a recent interview that Goldberg was cast in part for fan reaction.
“[We] just thought it was a wonderful Easter egg for audiences who have appreciated the film over the years, for the diehards,” she told THR. “And we also thought it was a lovely homage to Whoopi.”
But while Winfrey, also Oscar-nominated for her role as Sofia, was on set for the movie, she declined to make an appearance in the film and decided that Goldberg should be the only member of the original cast to make it in the new version.
“Actually, I thought about it, it would’ve been good in the church scene, but I thought it would also be distracting when Sofia is getting married that if the old original Sofia was just one of the people in the church, and then they were shooting that in the middle of Georgia when COVID was [spreading] like, ‘OK, well I ain’t sitting in that church all day anyway,’” she said with a laugh. “And also I just think it’s more special that it’s just Whoopi.”
The Color Purple remake stars Fantasia Barrino as the adult Celie, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery and Colman Domingo as Mister.