Oprah and The Color Purple Journey (2023) Movie Script

So good! Rejoiceful!
Hey, you wanna go through
the curtain one more time?
- Oprah Winfrey:
No, thank you.
- Not one more time?
-Oh, just one time!
-You did it. You did it.
I think you should. Just once.
You told Harpo to beat me.
One more time for me, please!
-speaker: Come on, Oprah.
-Come on. Come on.
- Come on. Come on.
- Okay.
Okay, you wanna do it together?
-Oh, okay. Together? Okay.
-Okay. Ready, together.
You told Harpo to beat me.
All my life I had to fight.
Had to fight
my daddy, my uncles,
my brothers,
and my cousins, too.
But I never--
Ever, ever thought
I'd have to fight
in my own house!
Let 'em know,
let 'em know, let 'em know!
And don't you forget it.
Like the color purple
Where do it come from?
"The Color Purple" has been
the sweetest
of journeys for me.
I am so proud to be
one of the producers
of a bold, new
re-imagined film
with a spectacular
all-star cast...
coming to movie theaters
on Christmas Day.
"Color Purple" family,
every one of you
has been chosen from something
that we all know is divine.
Alice Walker!
We're still doing it.
Can you believe it?
"The Color Purple"
began as Alice Walker's
Pulitzer Prize-winning novel,
inspired by her
life experience
growing up in the South.
The book sold over
five million copies worldwide,
and is the foundation
for various adaptations
of the main character,
Celie's, epic story.
Everything done to me--
Already done to you.
Steven Spielberg's
1985 landmark movie
captivated theatergoers,
and was nominated
for 11 Academy Awards.
Until you do right by me,
everything you think about
is gonna crumble.
Don't do it, Miss Celie.
Don't trade places
with what I've been through.
That film was my acting debut,
and the experience
was one of the greatest
joys of my life.
In 2005, Scott Sanders
had the wild idea to make
"The Color Purple"
into a Broadway musical.
I'm thankful for
Lovin' who I really am
And a Tony-winning
revival in 2015.
Push the button
Ya gotta push it
if you wanna come in
Both shows brought audiences
from all over the world
to their feet.
And the Tony goes to...
"The Color Purple."
Accepting the award
for "The Color Purple,"
producer Scott Sanders.
Now, a new film is the next
evolution of Celie's odyssey.
A fresh, modern
take on her path
of sisterhood, self-discovery,
courage, and triumph.
It is a visual spectacle.
With heart-pounding,
breathtaking performances
for a whole new generation.
Hell no.
Here we go with the rehearsal.
I'm taking you along with me
on the set of the film
to experience
all the passion...
Every time you walk in,
you, you bring it.
-Taraji P. Henson: Thank you.
-Winfrey: I don't know how
you're doing it.
The ancestors.
...the joy and emotion...
Oh, don't make me cry!
...and movie magic.
I'm also talking
to the all-star cast...
It's so exciting!
...the famous producers...
Sofia, Sofia!
...and the visionary director,
Blitz Bazawule.
I always say
this "Color Purple"
is a reimagination,
not a remake.
This one's
for our generation.
The endless well
that is "The Color Purple."
You know God loves admiration.
This incredible journey
continues for me
and for everybody touched
by this inspiring story.
"The Color Purple"
I think it pisses God off
if you walk past
the color purple
and not notice it.
The book is everything to me.
On the day that the book was
reviewed in the "New York Times"
I happened to not
go to church that day,
and I was at home, in bed.
Too ill to go to church,
but not too ill
that after I read the review
of "The Color Purple"
in the "New York Times,"
I put on a coat
and my rubber boots,
we called 'em
"galoshes" at the time,
and went to the bookstore
to get that book,
went back home, got in bed,
read it in one session.
Before the bookstore
closed that day,
went back to the bookstore,
and got every book
that was in the bookstore.
And then I started...
handing out the book
to everybody I knew.
I deliberately use
and, you know, discuss,
uh, things that I know,
things that I have experienced
because I feel
that the things that
I have experienced
and the things I know
are, are the things
I'm sure of in the world.
I think it's such
an incredible thing
to be Alice Walker,
to have written that book,
and that book be so personal
about people that she knew,
in telling the story of
how a woman
comes into owning herself
in her fullness
of empowerment.
And to tell that one story
and have that story
become a film,
done by Steven Spielberg,
and that story
become a classic,
become an empowerment vehicle
for a lotta people's lives.
And then, to have
Scott Sanders come along
and create the musical,
to have it move
through generations
and various evolvements.
It all started
with that written word.
The first time I read
"The Color Purple,"
I felt that I had
come home to myself
to a story that was about me.
"Dear God, I'm 14 years old.
I've been a good girl.
Please explain what's
happening to me,"
was my story.
I'd been really secretive.
Nobody else in my life
knew that I had been
sexually abused
as a young girl.
Nobody knew that I had
had a child at 14
as a result of the molestation.
So, to be reading a book
where somebody is being molested
by a family member,
and... has the child taken away,
in my case, the child died,
I-I was just out of my mind.
I couldn't believe
that there was a story
that represented
my own life experience
in print, in a book
by Alice Walker.
So, for me, the desire to be
a part of "The Color Purple,"
and to be affiliated
with it in any way,
I never imagined that I would
be acting in the movie
because I wasn't an actress.
But just the experience
of being around
Alice Walker, Quincy Jones,
Steven Spielberg every day
was life-altering for me.
It's been almost 40 years
since we were down
in North Carolina
filming your version,
-which I call "our version"...
-Our, our v-- Yeah.
...our version
of "The Color Purple."
And we never talked about
what actually made you say yes
to, to that story.
What drew you to the story?
Well, you know, I-- When I s--
I said no, principally,
because I thought that Quincy
should hire an African American
-or a Black director for it.
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
Steven Spielberg:
I was very
self-conscious about that.
And then Quincy appealed
to me on various levels.
Quincy Jones:
And he said, "Don't you
think a Black director
should be directing this?"
I said, "Did you have to go
to Mars to do 'E.T.'?"
I think that's so good.
But once I committed to it,
I was completely
involved in the story.
Well, for me, you know
it is completely full circle
to be sitting here with you.
I have never wanted anything
more than I wanted
to be in that movie,
"The Color Purple."
Good morning, everybody.
I'm Oprah Winfrey,
and welcome to "A.M. Chicago."
Quincy came over to see me,
and Quincy said,
"You've gotta look
at Oprah Winfrey.
She has a local
Chicago talk show."
And he brought me
some of your shows.
-Winfrey: Wow.
-Spielberg: This was
before syndication.
You said to me then,
"Your future is so bright,
it burns my eyes."
-I'll never forget
that moment as long as I live.
-That's right. That's right.
I knew instantly that you were
-Sofia. Instantly.
-Winfrey: Oh!
And that's, that's when I...
-Winfrey: Really?
...said to Quincy,
"Can we get her here?"
I'm Oprah Winfrey
praying and testing
for the part of Sofia.
And so, when you came in,
you read for me.
I'm gettin' sick and tired
of you tellin' me how
to behave, Harpo,
'cause I ain't
none of your child!
-One of the happiest
days of my life.
-And mine, too.
I ain't gonna let
no man beat me.
No man, no woman, ain't nobody!
Ain't nobody messin' with Sofia.
Good, good.
You still have your
television talk show
-and everything, don't you?
-Yeah, I do.
I'm a talkin' fool, Harry.
What'd ya do?
Take a leave of absence?
I did.
I took a leave of absence
this summer.
I'm grateful to have the kind
of managers that let me do it.
-interviewer: Mm-hmm.
-And they, uh, let me
take some time off
this summer to do it.
If they hadn't,
I would've given up
my career in television.
I real-- literally--
-interviewer: Oh, really?
-Oh, I would've.
If they had said,
"No, you can't do it,"
I was prepared to say,
"Okay, well, I'll have to find
something else to do
when this movie's over."
I was going to do this movie
-or else, really.
-interviewer: Hm.
I mean it, really, really.
You know what
it said to me?
It said,
-"Dreams really do come true."
-Spielberg: Yeah.
-You looks lovely, Miss Celie.
-Thank you.
I never wanted
anything in my life
more than I wanted the role
in "The Color Purple."
I was seen on television,
and auditioned for it,
and waited two months.
And then I'd gone, um,
to this health farm
to try to lose weight.
So, I remember being
at this health farm,
running on the track,
saying to the divine, God,
"I surrender it."
I was singing that song.
I surrender all,
I surrender all
And crying,
because I finally realized,
"I'm not gonna get it."
I thought I was gonna get it.
I never wanted anything
more in my life,
but I'm not gonna get it,
and I-- my life is gonna go on,
and I'm gonna be fine,
and, "God, what would
you have me do now?"
That was my prayer.
The instant I, I let it go,
I mean, the,
I mean, the instant
I let it go,
I swear to you, I'm gonna cry,
somebody came
and got me on the track,
and they said,
"Steven Spielberg is
on the phone for you."
The instant I let it go.
I heard the story later on
-that you had gone
to lose weight...
-Winfrey: Yeah.
-...and you had gone to this...
-Fat farm. Yeah.
...and, uh,
and I said to, uh, Quincy,
"She can't lose a pound."
And he said,
"I hear you're at a fat farm.
"If you lose a pound,
you may lose this part."
So, I stopped at Dairy Queen...
...on the way out,
just to be sure.
-Sofia is a big girl.
-She's a zaftig woman.
-In the-- in Alice Walker's
vision of Sofia...
-Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-...she's a zaftig woman.
And then along comes
Scott Sanders in 2005.
-So, we did this in 1985,
and in 2005...
...he comes along with the idea
for a Broadway musical.
-Spielberg: Right.
-Winfrey: I remember when I
first heard that
he was producing
a Broadway musical,
I was like, "How are you
gonna make a musical out
-of 'The Color Purple'?"
-Spielberg: Yeah.
Scott Sanders:
I remember this whirlwind
of Gayle comin'
to see the reading.
And the next day,
my cell phone rings,
and, "Hi, Scott,
it's Oprah Winfrey.
"I hear 'The Color Purple'
musical's good.
How can I help?"
Come on up here,
and gather around.
I want you to meet our newest
producer of "The Color Purple."
Our marquee
had not gone up yet.
We did not have a theater.
So, suddenly,
you come on board,
and I get a call,
and said,
"Hey, we wanna put the cast
on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show.'"
And we desperately
needed some sales.
Singing "Hell No"
is Felicia Fields
and the cast
of "The Color Purple"!
Sanders: And "The Oprah Show"
airs live from 4:00 to 5:00.
And the Telecharge phone lines
and online
ticket-buying system
blew up because there
was so much demand...
-Winfrey: I did not know that.
-...coming for the show,
that they had to add
more broadband
to the Telecharge site...
-I did not know that.
-...in order for us
to accommodate
-the ticket sales.
-I did not know that.
You got to say,
you need to say
You better say,
you oughta say
That darn "Oprah Show."
Doggone it.
-It was the best.
-Nothin' like it.
So, you know, for years,
Scott was saying,
"This should be a film.
This should be a film."
The musical version.
And we were all
blown away by the director,
Blitz's vision for it.
Blitz Bazawule was born
and raised in Ghana,
and is a multi,
I mean, multitalented artist,
rapper, music producer,
and novelist.
He also co-directed
the dazzling visual album
"Black Is King,"
with the Queen B
herself, Beyonc.
He showed me
some storyboards,
which I thought
was fantastic.
And I just thought
he was the greatest choice
to direct this.
I really did.
And so she does her...
Yeah, Steven Spielberg has been
an incredible supporter,
and just an incredible
wealth of knowledge
and experience
in this project.
The first thing he told me is,
ya know, "It's your baby.
It's yours now.
You have to figure out
how you're gonna craft it."
We'll do it again.
She'll back out.
You almost can't remake it.
It's impossible.
For me,
it was important
that we examine
the elements
that are current:
elements of abuse,
physical and sexual.
The world is just
a lot more specific
about how we define each other.
So, this "Color Purple,"
to me, is about the now,
and I think that's
a huge testament to
the endless well
that is "The Color Purple,"
that every generation can come
and find a little bit of Celie
in their time,
and they can tell that story.
Keep it movin'
It's up to you,
the way you choose to go
Keep it movin',
keep it movin'
A lot of women have come over
to me over the years,
-and not just Black women,
but all, all--
Many women have
come over to me to express
how that movie
moved them so much.
I've also gotten some
sidelong, hostile glances
from some men who were
a little bit put out with me.
I vividly remember
the NAACP protesting.
I remember them
standing outside
the Oscars,
when we went in,
-Spielberg: Yeah.
-Winfrey: And then
protesting when we came out
-because we didn't
win anything...
-Spielberg: Yeah.
...which is, like, you
can't have it both ways.
-Right. Yeah, yeah.
-So, everybody was upset with
the Mister character.
Well, the Mister character
was Alice Walker's
vision of that era
and of relationships.
-Not relationships,
in general...
...between Black men
and Black women,
fathers and daughters,
husbands and wives.
-But that specific idea...
...of a man who, essentially,
marries to be able to hire
indentured labor in his home,
and to have his way with her
because of his ownership,
-not because of any
feeling between them.
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
And to do all of that,
he took the thing
that meant the most to Celie,
which is her sister, Nettie.
And because Nettie
resisted his advances,
-he physically tore
the sisters in half.
-Winfrey: Yeah.
Nothin' but death
can keep me from it!
I mean, it was brutal,
and I understand reactions,
because, in that sense,
the dominant male
in that family,
who learned
from the dominant father,
-in his experience...
...who probably learned
from his own father.
It just was passed on.
-You know?
-It was just passed on.
-Winfrey: Yeah.
Get off my land!
Get off my land!
Blitz Bazawule:
Mister's a hurt guy
who's hurtin' people.
And myself and Marcus,
our writer, talked
at length about not just
Mister, all characters,
making sure that everybody's arc
was complete, and was human,
and no one was,
uh, one-dimensional.
Nothin' but death
can keep me from it!
Mister: Get off my land!
You ain't never gonna
hear from her again!
Mister's a tough guy...
-Marcus Gardley: Yes, he is.
...to, to, to make complex,
but you were able to do that.
You know, when you
read the book,
it's always been there.
That man has always been there,
and what we've
done in this film,
which I'm quite proud of,
is we found
those quiet moments
where you sit with him
and you see his humanity.
It's still the Mister
that everybody remembers,
but now we're seeing
some of those private
moments with him,
and we see more complexity
with the character.
Mm-hmm. That he isn't
just one thing.
That's right.
He's many things.
Hate to bother you.
Marcus Gardley took
great strides to make sure
-that the men
were very complex...
...and you understand, um,
they were very human.
And you understand why
hurt people hurt people.
-It's time to go!
-You're not gonna let me
finish my water first?!
Colman Domingo:
So, he's not just a villain,
but he's someone who is broken.
And you can explore that,
and that is part
of the key to healing
for all the characters.
When you heard
you got the role,
what was the thing you
were so looking forward to?
I think it feels
very spiritual.
It feels like-- Like you said,
it's part of a family.
I feel like I'm a part
of this long lineage of people
who have passed on
to me to tell our story.
-Winfrey: Yeah.
-Domingo: And knowing--
And, and with Blitz's vision,
-as well, you feel like
it's something bigger.
-Winfrey: Yeah.
What happened to you?
Uh, nothin'. I-I was just,
uh, was kicked by a mule.
Was this mule wearin' a dress?
Hey, you! You killin' it, too.
- Comin' from you,
I'm like--
- Um, it's true.
You're so powerful even
when you're silent.
-Thank you, thank you.
That means the world.
This whole thing
-means the world.
-So, what are you feeling,
what are you feeling?
Corey Hawkins:
Just feels like God.
You know, like,
the right thing
came at the right time,
and why you guys
chose to bring this back
-at this moment
in our lives, in our careers...
...and I just know
it's gonna touch people
the way it, it, it should.
-And all we gotta do
is get out of the way
-and let the words--
-Yeah, that's what I feel, too.
You know what it is,
there's a joyfulness,
and there's a pride...
-...and there's
a hopefulness about it
-that's really great.
-Yeah. I mean, it's our story.
And it's been-- Ya know,
it's one generation
-to another
generation to another.
-Another generation.
Now it's a whole
'nother generation.
-I pass it on, I pass it on.
-Thank you so much.
-We love you. Alright.
-Alright. Alright,
I pass it on.
-Love you.
And how did you
approach writing the women?
you were surrounded by
-powerful, strong Black
women in your own life...
-That's right. Yeah.
-...'cause that comes through.
-Come on.
Come on, Marcus Gardley!
I'm writing the women
that raised me.
When I was writin' this movie,
my grandmother,
who just passed away,
she was 104.
-Winfrey: Oh, my goodness.
-Gardley: And so, her voice
-was constantly in my ear...
-Winfrey: Ah.
Gardley: ...while I was
writing these characters.
So, there was Whoopi,
there was Margaret Avery,
there was me, of course,
Akosua Busia,
and Danny Glover.
Right. Uh, Rae Dawn Chong.
-Winfrey: That's right.
And now,
it's Colman Domingo,
and Fantasia, and Taraji,
and Danielle Brooks,
and H.E.R., and Halle Bailey,
and Phylicia Pearl Mpasi.
-The torch has
been passed on.
-What do you
think of this cast?
-I love this cast.
This cast understands
the juxtaposition
of culture and history,
Black culture,
Black history,
cinematic history
and culture as well.
This cast has a whole
other level of understanding.
-And so, they take even
more responsibility
-for these characters
they're playing.
'Cause they have
almost 40 years.
- You got it. Right.
- Yeah, since the original.
This one's
for our generation.
We owe it to ourselves
to advance it
and bring
something new to it.
We cannot recreate.
We have to birth
somethin' new.
And hopefully, in 10 years,
15 years, 20 years,
another generation
will come up and say,
"Well, where Blitz took it
and where Steven Spielberg
took it was cool,
but this is what we wanna do
with 'The Color Purple'."
-Alright, let's go in
for "The Color Purple."
You walked onto the set
and it felt like what?
Alice Walker:
It felt like we have lived
quite a few years,
and stayed true to a certain
course of life,
so that we could
come back to this story,
which is still so relevant
to people's lives.
I still say, to this day,
and probably when
I take my last breath,
"The Color Purple"
will be one of the greatest
highlights of my life.
That entire experience
changed me in so many ways.
-It was extraordinary.
It was an extraordinary time.
And I would say,
of all the events in my life,
it had probably
the greatest of impacts.
And now,
all these years later,
Celie means what in 2022?
Well, it means that I've watched
a lot of women become free.
Uh, you know,
free to express their love,
their sexuality,
their, their spirituality.
Sofia! Sofia!
Such a pretty name, Pa!
Miss Oprah!
Isn't God so good?!
-Isn't God so good?
-God is so good!
-I'm gonna cry!
-Oh, don't make me cry!
The moment I saw Danielle
on set the very first day,
I became emotional
because it was triggering,
in a very good way for me,
about the first day
I was on set as Sofia.
Oh... I'm so happy
that you're here.
-Thank you!
I'm so happy to be here.
-Oh, my God.
And I know it was
such a life-enhancing,
altering moment
that I could just see
this woman's life
is about to change.
Okay, I didn't expect that.
-Oh, man.
-Danielle Brooks:
I didn't either.
This little boy is Oprah
when she got the role
-back in the day.
-Winfrey: When I first got
the role back in the day.
-I know you remember that.
-Winfrey: I'm still--
-I-I-I-I could still
be dancing about it.
-When you got that call.
I never wanted anything more
than I wanted
"The Color Purple."
And then, I made sure
I was there for the iconic...
You told Harpo to beat me!
..."You told Harpo
to beat me" scene
because that is
the moment the baton
gets officially passed.
I loves Harpo...
God knows I do.
That's the line
that people remember from
nearly 40 years ago...
But I'll kill him dead
before I let him beat me!
...that people still
are reciting that line to me.
And I could imagine what
a challenging moment that is
to try to make that
a different moment than one
that everybody
already has in their head.
And so,
I just wanted to be there
to support her for that.
My baby girl!
- You did it.
- You did it. You did it.
The baton is officially passed.
Thank you.
Thank you so much.
It is done,
and it is well done.
I don't have
any other words,
but thank you.
On so many levels...
-...thank you.
I know what this means.
I know what it means.
I will say that thousands
of women and girls
throughout the world
have responded to that line,
-"A girl child ain't safe
in a family of men."
-"In a family of men."
And that line
gave so many people
the courage to step up
and do what they needed
to do in their own lives...
-That's right.
-...to own their own
sexual assault, sexual abuse.
It's such an--
huge thing to take over
stepping into a role
that's become so iconic
for the culture.
I think if I hadn't gone
on the journey
of playing
Sofia for a year...
-Winfrey: Yeah.
-...on Broadway
for eight shows a week
in front of 1,100
people a day,
sometimes twice a day,
I think I would've
been a little shook.
But I feel like God said,
-"This is your moment."
"This is your time.
"This is ordained for you
-to do this role."
And I had to step into that
and do it wholeheartedly.
And to be honest,
you made it a little easy for me
'cause I just followed
your blueprint.
Ya know, and just added
a little flavor of my own to it.
-But, yeah, to me,
it's one of the most iconic...
-It is.
-...scenes of American
cinema, for sure.
So, "Hell No" feels
like an official anthem
for a whole new generation.
Alright, here's
the rehearsal. Action.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
Gotta get it right,
gotta get it right.
It's in the fist,
you know what I'm sayin'?
You remind me of my momma
Under your husband's thumb
Stephen Bray:
Another one to be
super proud of.
Brenda Russell:
Yeah, I'm really proud of it
because it was very good
to write a song
where a woman says,
"Uh-uh. Hell no.
You ain't gonna hit me."
And that is empowering
for a lotta women.
Raise his hand
Hell no
Danielle is fantastic,
and she brings that song
to life in a way that,
when she was
in the theater on stage...
Hell, hell, hell, hell, hell
...the audience would just
react like crazy.
Because, like,
what Brenda says,
women have been wanting
to say, "Hell no."
Ya know, some of them,
obviously, have the strength to,
but a lot don't,
and so, to kind of
help that energy,
I'm just very proud
to be part of that team.
Oh, this our handshake.
The thing that's so
valuable about that scene,
is long before there was
ever even a discussion
on "The Oprah Show"
about sexual abuse,
sexual molestation,
domestic abuse,
long before anybody
was talking about it anywhere,
we had that scene.
All my life I had to fight.
I had to fight my daddy,
I had to fight my uncles,
I had to fight my brothers!
And that scene is what women
all around the world related to.
A girl child ain't safe
in a family of mens.
It was a "Me Too" moment
before there was
a "Me Too" movement
because, for most people,
that was the first public airing
of that kind of thinking.
"Wow. It happened
to someone else.
And it happened to me, too."
You told me that--
what M-M-Maya Angelou
told you about the 10,000.
-Winfrey: Yeah. I come as one...
-Bein' that voice.
-...but I stand as 10,000.
That's what you told me.
-I come as one,
but I stand as 10,000.
So when you are doing that line,
-you are representing
10,000 times 10,000...
-Brooks: Mm-hmm.
...times 10,000 who have
all come before you.
And that's why it
resonates so deeply.
-It's 'cause all
of those thousands
-are seeing themselves
through you.
You brought so much joy
and life to the character
that I think people walk away
from this film feeling
a sense of triumph
and delight.
It makes me so happy.
We gon' fight for real.
-Love you, girl.
-Love you, baby.
What's gonna become, for me,
and I know for many of you,
is the moment
when Sofia meets Mister
for the first time...
Stay then, Harpo.
But when you
gets cold at night,
you know good and well
who heats up your bones.
...and she turns,
and she walks out the door,
and she says--
Don't keep me waitin'.
-Oh, God.
-I'm, like, uh, it's--
Blitz, he's amazing.
Danielle Brooks.
Excited for her.
It starts first
with deeply believing
that these people are
the right people for the role.
Now I come here
out of respe-c-t.
You think those
are gon' be the new
-moments for this generation?
-I think respe-c-t.
But if there ain't none to get,
there sure ain't none to give.
-Oh, Sofia--
I have to say,
just two weeks ago,
I was really goin' through it.
And I said,
"You know, I'ma take a walk."
And I started listening
to "I'm Here."
-Oh, my gosh.
And I listened
to the Fantasia version
-'cause she was on Broadway.
And just listening
to the words...
I'm gonna sing out
"I believe I have inside of me
everything that I need
to live a bountiful life."
That just got me.
I believe I have
inside of me
Everything that I need
to live a bountiful life
It's a perfect song for women
with little self-esteem
because she says,
"I'm beautiful, and I'm here."
And it's a great thing
for young girls, women all ages
to assert themselves,
that you're okay.
It's so much healing
in these songs,
and they will live on forever
because they're about love,
they're about joy,
they're about picking
yourself back up,
knowing that you're beautiful,
these foundational things
that will keep us alive
and keep us goin'.
I'm gonna
We have Fantasia Taylor
who we've known
as a phenomenal singer,
and this will be
her, her breakthrough role
in, in motion pictures.
I'm incredibly blessed.
-How are you? I love your name.
-Fantasia Taylor: Fine.
Thank you.
Paula Abdul:
Aw, how old are you?
Taylor: 19.
-Taylor: Mm-hmm.
Are you excited to be here?
I'm very excited.
I'm very, very excited.
I think it's now--
You auditioned, what,
-almost 20 years ago
for "American Idol."
Ryan Seacrest:
The winner of "American Idol"
2004 is...
Fantasia Barrino.
-This is a full-circle moment...
...that you are now starring
in "The Color Purple."
-The starring role.
Number one
on the call sheet.
What does that mean?
For me... after all
that I had to go through...
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
-...it means God didn't
forget about me.
'Cause there were times
where I felt that way.
There were times when I felt...
"Why are you goin' so hard?
Why you doin' this?
You might as well just
pack it on up and go home."
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
-I'm so much like Celie.
I had no other choice
but to keep goin'.
Even when I didn't
want to keep goin',
there was something
in me that was just goin',
-Yeah, it's, it's so interesting
because Whoopi has said that
playing the role of Celie
was so different for her.
-Taylor: Hm.
-Winfrey: To allow Celie's pain
to stand on its own
because it was separate
from her.
-Taylor: Mm.
-Winfrey: You have had
the opposite experience.
You've said, "I am Celie."
So, are you comfortable
with talking about why?
-Yes, I am.
-Yeah, yeah.
I'm Celie.
I never thought
I was beautiful.
-I was that little
Black girl with big lips.
I had a gift...
I knew I had a gift,
but I never thought
I was beautiful.
-Picked on. Bullied.
-At, at a young age.
-How young were you?
-probably about seven, eight.
a-all of those
things that I buried
when I step into Celie's shoes,
-they come back up.
Education wasn't
big in our home.
-Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
-Singing was.
"Get the song right."
-"Sing it right."
-I never got in trouble
for education,
so it wasn't somethin'
that I focused on.
-So, I lacked in a lot
of different areas.
-Okay. I knew you were
gon' make me cry.
-I'm sorry.
I didn't know it
was gon' be this early
in, in the conversation,
but okay.
Let's shoot one, Oprah?
Let's shoot one!
Let's shoot one!
Come on, let's shoot one.
I said look
Are you lookin'
We all lookin', honey
Look who's wearin' the pants
In Miss Celie's pants
I know. This is the first time
I've seen such a big smile...
-...from Celie, isn't it?
And the laugh?
- And you s--
- And it came naturally,
-so I think for me,
from the inside...
-Winfrey: Yeah, yeah.
-...Celie havin'
that moment...
...of everything--
-Comin' together.
What was your impression
before experiencing
bringing Celie
to life on Broadway?
What was your feeling about
"The Color Purple" before that?
You know, I was very young...
-Winfrey: Yeah.
-...when I played Celie.
Winfrey: I know,
you all were so young.
Yes. Very young.
And my life, at the time,
-was a bit heavy...
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
...and was a bit dark.
And so, playing
that role, for me,
-was very, very heavy.
Scott Sanders
said this to me that
when he first asked
you about doing
the Broadway musical,
you weren't sure.
You said you, you had
to have a prayer about it.
You had to pray on it
because you weren't sure
that you had what it takes.
Ya did.
For eight shows a week.
What was your prayer during
the shooting of this film?
That God would
allow me to go back
and, actually, see
something different this time.
What I mean by that is...
I'm healing.
I'm working on myself.
I do therapy. I journal.
I won't allow my past
to dictate my future.
-So, I pushed a lotta
things behind me.
I'm married now.
Happy. Beautiful man.
I mean, beautiful man.
Great to me and my children.
He uplifts me. He builds me up.
So, a lot of those
things in the past
I don't have to really
dwell on anymore,
but playing Celie,
it had to come back up,
so I wanted God to show
me something different.
-And he did.
-And he did.
-And he did.
-One of the things
that I've heard
you say about this film,
and I believe it to be true,
-is that women
will be healed.
Women will be healed
from the viewing
of "The Color Purple."
Tell me why you think that.
Hm. I was healed.
-I was healed.
We have a strength
about us that, sometimes,
-we don't even realize.
Ya know, I always say
this story's about
radical forgiveness.
It's about being
able to forgive
others and yourself.
We all can identify
that matriarch who,
because she survived
and because she thrived,
we're here.
We don't wait to see
the triumph in the last
minute of the movie.
We watch a woman,
through her imagination,
build her own world.
I hope that people
are either reminded
or learn the power
of forgiveness.
That it's somethin' that
we all should employ
on a daily basis.
And it's somethin'
that is for us.
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
-Gardley: That forgiveness
is really for us.
And for these young girls
that are gonna
watch it... and see it,
'cause there's moments where
you get pissed off, get mad.
They're gonna not
like a lotta the things
that Mister does
or Mister says,
or her father does to her.
But in the end,
when she comes out and says,
"I realize it's
the simple things in life
"that I still have
that I can hold onto,
that make me the woman
that I am today."
I'm thankful for
Lovin' who I really am
Look who's wearin'
the pants now!
Let's talk about
"Push Da Button."
I was on set for those days.
-It is a rousing,
mesmerizing entrance.
Now there's somethin'
'bout good lovin'
What you brought to it
is like something
none of us had ever seen.
What were you channeling
for "Push Da Button"?
I mean, it's in the song.
It's, it's in the music.
The writing is in--
on the page.
It's there.
You know, I just had to,
uh, suspend my disbelief
and give my body to Shug.
Watch the juice
begin to flow
I always feel like acting
is sort of allowing
this character
to use your body as a vessel.
So, Taraji has to disappear,
and I have to just
trust the process.
-I did my homework.
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
I know who this woman is.
This is her life.
Shug lives on stage.
Once you put the wardrobe on--
I was just gonna say.
There's so many things
-going on, though.
She's got the...
-...plumed feather headdress.
The dress. The costuming.
-Henson: Mm-hmm.
-Winfrey: The hair.
-Henson: It all helps.
-Winfrey: It all helps.
It all helps.
I started thinking about
Shug Avery's "Push Da Button"
when I started working
on the film, way back.
And Blitz and I discussed it,
and we know that
the power color would be red.
Red has a way
of really influencing people,
and grabbing people in
kind of a powerful feeling.
And Shug is one
of those characters that
empowers herself with not only
how she feels about herself,
but also how she dresses.
And the outfit was really
important to make that happen.
I will say
and the incredible
team effort
to put all of those hours
and everyone's talent
into building and making
that costume on Shug
and bringing her
to life on screen.
Ready? And playback.
Lawrence Davis:
Keeping hair in place
during dance numbers
is a very difficult thing,
and keeping hats on
is a very difficult thing.
We have a lotta tricks
of the trade that we do.
We do bands
around the head first
before anchoring the hats
for those guys
who don't have hair.
Even for the ladies,
who have short hair,
we have wigs that need to be
secured and anchored,
and then hats that are
pinned into the wigs.
Alright, everybody,
here we go with the rehearsal.
And playback.
I mean, literally, I watched
you do it 88 times.
What do you remember most
from the filming
of that scene?
I just remember,
in between takes,
sitting on the bar
with ice on my knees.
'Cause that's what
I was thinking!
As a person
with new knees,
I was thinking,
-"Boy, your knees are
gonna be hurting tomorrow."
-Oh, yeah.
'Cause every single time,
you had to step up
on that table.
Yeah, so in between takes,
when they were changin'
the positions of the camera,
I was icing my knees.
-Winfrey: How ya doin'?
-I'm good. How are you?
How are you feelin'
about it all?
-I feel good. It looks good.
-It looks so good.
I've been watching since
the very first when you did
- the bum, bum, goin' in.
- Yes.
So, by the time we're done,
you would've probably done
-at least 100 takes
of the scene.
-Uh, absolutely.
-I'm-- I sing this song 24/7.
-It's just all I hear
in my head.
That's all I hear in my head!
I-- That's all I hear in my head
from watching the other day.
I get up in the middle
of the night to pee and it's--
both: "Push Da Button."
I'm lookin' for my inner Shug...
-...and I'm pushin' da button.
No, it's so much fun.
And the dancers
and the background,
they all-- it all helps.
We're background
for "The Color Purple"
in the 1920s
for the juke joint scene.
It was like goin' back in time.
Donna Collins:
It's an ultimate experience.
I am in total awe
of every single piece
of set design, set decoration.
My favorite of all times?
That juke joint at night.
The placid swamp,
which you all made
from scratch.
Tell us how that
all came to be.
We went to this particular swamp
'cause it was man-made.
-It's a dammed
lake for fishing.
-Winfrey: Yeah.
Paul D. Austerberry:
So, we, we drained it
so that we could build.
It took quite a while.
About two months.
And then, it took
a couple days to fill it up,
but we would keep
topping it up overnight
-so we'd maintain
the level of the swamp.
-Winfrey: Wow.
Pretty spectacular.
Alright, lock it up.
Here we go, everybody, settle.
I'm here with Dan Laustsen.
I have to say the
"esteemed Dan Laustsen"
because every single scene
is like a painting.
And for you to be who you are,
with your background,
and to be able to light
Black skin this way
is so incredible.
And how does that happen?
I think the story
is helping me to tell--
to paint with the light,
and make everything so--
Ahh, that's it.
You're painting with the light.
I'm trying to paint
with the light,
and write with the camera,
and help to tell the story.
On the page, this woman
is sexually advanced.
Skirt so short,
gonna shock your Ma
Make a man
wanna break the law
They say it
in "Shug Avery's
Comin' to Town,"
in the song.
"She'll take your man.
She'll take your woman."
-Bouncin' in the bed
-Drinkin' all your gin
-Bumpin' in the shed
-Lovin' all the men
Lock up your men,
your girlfriends.
I mean, she is just someone
who is comfortable
in her sexuality.
And you didn't
really see that a lot
-in that time.
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm. Right.
Oh, Shug Avery
comin' to town
"Shug Avery's Comin' to Town,"
the dancers blew me away
because it was, like,
three or four in the morning,
and they're dancing, like,
-they just woke up.
-Winfrey: I know.
You must be tapping
into something.
There's some sexual
river you're goin' to.
-It is so full of sex...
-Henson: It's, it's, it's--
-...and sultriness.
-I-I honestly believe
that I was around.
I think my soul was recycled,
and I believe
I lived during this time.
-That's what's happening.
-You know?
And then my mom
sent me to the South
-every summer.
I mean, it's later,
it wasn't this time period,
but there's something
about a Southern sexy woman
-that's different
from a city woman.
-You know what I mean?
-Ain't it the truth.
- Somethin' very different.
- Yeah.
But every time you walk in
you, you bring it.
-Every single time.
I-I don't know how...
-Thank you!
- ...you're doing it.
- The ancestors.
- Winfrey: The ancestors.
- Amazing.
-You have to rely on them.
They're all over
this thing, aren't they?
-Oh, my goodness,
are you kidding me?
One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.
Yeah! Stay in there!
My name is Fatima Robinson,
and I am choreographer of
"The Color Purple" musical.
You two are here. Boom.
This is 100%
a full-circle moment
to work on this film
and bring the dance
to life in this way.
You know, when my mom
came to me when I was young
and said,
"You and your sisters have
to come see this movie,"
I think that
it's just so rare
for generations
to be able to come together
and watch something
so beautifully.
My sister and I,
we still send each other
the hand patty-cake thing
if we have any friction
with each other,
or, like, we miss each other.
Like, that's our thing
that we do with each other.
Yes. Yes, yes.
One, two.
Flip the wrist down.
A lot of dance
is rooted in history,
and, especially,
in our African history.
Oh, that's it!
Fatima Robinson:
So, I can take pieces of what
I know is African dance...
Gayle King:
And then, what do
you do with your hips?
...and that's rooted in
even before this movie,
and I can take that
through my lens,
and figure out
what it would be
around that time.
Like the waves of the ocean.
I am the Makeup Department Head
for "The Color Purple."
So we goin' back to this look.
We had to do aging
for Colman Domingo,
who is playin' Mister.
That's a hard process to do.
But you start
by distressin' the skin out,
by takin' some
of the color out.
You accentuate any type
of marks that they have.
And you just kinda make
the skin look broken down,
and greasy,
and, and grungy.
That's kinda what we had before.
Oh, that's good, yeah--
Uh, me and the boys,
we was kinda
thinkin' you might like
to come and sing a little.
But if you can't,
don't worry 'cause
I gots a voice, too!
Well, uh, this, this
my girl, Squeak.
From the moment
you got the call,
we were holding our breath
that you would say yes.
I mean, it was
an immediate yes for me.
I was so excited.
Yeah, I c--
Every time I've seen you,
on camera,
you are so fully present,
you are so there.
- Thank you.
- Winfrey: So I can see
that you've done
the work to be there
in the scene.
Got your sewin' machine
Mirror shiny clean
And a fittin' room
Smell like sweet perfume
What's it like when
you're in the scene,
like, in p--
this particular scene?
- It's Taraji, it's Danielle...
- Yeah.
- Winfrey: ...it's Fantasia.
- Yeah.
All of you women together.
You just see
that female empowerment,
that womanhood,
that, just, sisterhood.
That's, to me,
one of the most important
scenes in the movie.
This will be the last day
that H.E.R. is in the movie.
She's about to go out on tour,
go to Europe
and perform with Coldplay.
So, there's a lot
of great energy in the room
and on stage today.
When you enter into
a new venture like this,
something always
happens, I think,
spiritually, emotionally.
You come out
on the other side
having grown
in what way, do you think?
I've gained
so much confidence,
not even just as an actress,
but just as a, as a woman,
-as a person, um, being here.
-Winfrey: Mm-hmm.
And so much comfort.
I feel like this was
the best way for me
to kinda start my, my debut.
I just want everybody
to please join me
for a picture wrap on H.E.R.!
-Winfrey: Yay!
-Thank you.
Thank you, thank you.
- Winfrey: Speech! Speech!
- Oh, my gosh!
Sorry I had to leave
in such a rush,
but, um, you know, this
was, like, my debut film,
and I couldn't've thought
of a better project
to, to start off with.
And I've made some
lifetime friends here,
and I really do love you guys,
each and every one of you.
Thank you for everything
that you, you do.
- Places, everyone.
- Picture's up.
Alright, let's standby.
Larry Dias:
The set decorator, basically,
sort of sets the stage.
The only thing that
would be here was the tree.
We kind of do
concept drawings,
come up with what
the concept for the set is.
I think, when doing
a period piece,
there's always a level
of difficulty
just trying to source things
that are still available
that would fit
into the time frame.
I just need
to see this real quick.
-In the final scene...
...the entire cast is gathered
around this ethereal tree.
We called it the "Angel Oak."
What was it like for you
to film that moment
around the tree?
When you come from
a big family...
-...where there can be
a lot of chaos, drama.
-And then, me being a mother.
-A young mother at that.
I was 17 when I had my daughter.
That moment, for me,
was the moment that I hope for.
Where you can see
communities come together,
families come together,
it can happen.
And Celie made it happen.
- Picture is up.
- Let's get everyone in position.
To show this depth,
I need someone to walk
much closer to the camera.
This was a tree
that mattered the most
'cause it's where
our girls open.
This is where we first see
Celie and Nettie playing.
Their age of innocence,
you know,
before we know all the things
that will happen to them.
I really wanted a tree that
had its own spectacle,
its own life.
And so,
once I found the tree,
I knew immediately that
the tree we start
is the tree we end at.
Dear peoples,
dear everything
Dear God
It reminded me of my family
'cause I have a huge family.
We just celebrated
my grandmother's 99th birthday.
And we do this often.
We will convene
down in North Carolina
where she lives.
And so, it literally
took me to my family.
Like, I was--
I just felt like I was home.
Like the color purple
Where do it come from?
It is a real reunion.
That end scene
is more indicative
of what the ultimate film
is about than anything
because I think
this film is about
and empowerment.
Everything is symbolic
of love, family, hope, triumph.
-cast: ...men
- And we cut.
- crewmember: Cut!
I've now seen it,
like, six times
from six different angles,
and I get emotional every time.
That's a good sign.
Back to one. Back to one.
I just wanted to say
how proud I am
that you all are here today.
The kind of camaraderie
and the love
that is exuding
from these grounds
is because of the energy
that you all have brought,
and because of the words
that Alice Walker laid down
for us so many years ago.
So, my heart is
overflowing with gratitude.
You bless us with your beings.
Thank you so much
for being a part
of "The Purple" family.
People need to be in a room
where they can all cry together,
and all laugh together,
and all hold hands
across the aisles,
even if they
don't know each other.
There's gonna be
a spiritual holding of hands.
Movies bring
strangers together.
The movie theater experience
is a great uniter.
I just don't know
of any way to have a better
full-circle moment
for someone for whom
this was the greatest
desire of my life
to be in "The Color Purple"
to now be able to bring this
reimagined iteration
to a new audience
and a new generation
is just about
as good as it gets.
I mean,
if you wanna see something
that's spectacular, visually,
and a story that endures,
this is it.
A story with a moral
that's unmatched.
A story
from struggle to triumph
is one that we can all
connect to and understand.
Uh, ya know,
I keep telling people,
"It's not your mama's
'Color Purple,'
but your mama gon' like it."
She gon' love it.
She ain't gon' like it.
She gon' love it.
She gon' devour it.
Yeah, yes, yeah.
Families will be healed.
Women, men,
children will be healed.
Fathers will speak
to sons again.
Mothers will speak
to their daughters again.
People will be healed.
So we'll be in the theaters,
-and God's gonna move
through "The Color Purple."
Thank you.
Thank you.
That is a picture wrap.
I appreciate you so much!
Thank you so much!
-Good job, good job.
-Thank you, thank you.
Celebrate good times,
come on
Celebrate good times,
come on
Let's celebrate
There's a party
goin' on right here
A celebration to last
throughout the years
So bring your good times
and your laughter, too
We gonna celebrate
your party with you
Come on now
Celebrate good times,
come on