Grammy winner Jon Batiste is ready to make his acting debut in Warner Bros. ‘ forthcoming adaptation of The color Purple.
The film, directed by Blitz Bazawule (Black is king), is based on the Tony-winning musical by Marsha Norman, Brenda Lee, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, which itself was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker.
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Batiste joins a cast that includes Aunjanue Ellis, HERE, Corey Hawkins and Taraji P. Henson, and will play Grady, a marijuana-loving womanizer married to jazz and blues singer Shug Avery (played by Jennifer Hudson on Broadway and will be portrayed here by Henson).
With manuscript of Chi‘s Marcus Gardley and music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, the film’s story is centered around Celie (Fantasia Barrino, who repeats her Broadway role), a poor black woman living in the early 20th century south who must find his way to himself -Love and acceptance after being subjected to many years of horrific abuse from her father’s hands and other people in her life.
Production of the musical is underway in Georgia. Oprah Winfrey, who played Sofia’s character in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation of Walker’s book, co-produces with Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones. (Sanders and Jones also produced the Broadway show.) Walker is the director of the film, which Warner Bros. produced. publishes December 20, 2023.
Batiste won an Oscar in 2020 for the musical score of Pixar’s Soul. Although he has appeared in films before, it was as an interview subject in documentaries as Oscar Peterson: Black + Whitee. The color Purple marks the 35-year-old musician’s first acting concert. The five-time Grammy winner who took home this year’s album of the year We are. is represented by CAA and attorneys Dan Shulman and Evan Krauss.
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