American Idol season 3 winner Fantasia has been cast in the forthcoming movie musical of The Color Purple, alongside Orange is the New Black alum, Danielle Brooks.
Fantasia will play Celie, while Danielle will portray Sofia. The news was announced Thursday during ABC News’ Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queen Rising.
Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey played the parts initially, in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film adaption of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name.
A musical version of the book was mounted on Broadway from 2005 to 2008. Fantasia played the role of Celie from 2007 to 2008 during the original Broadway run. Danielle earned a Tony nomination for playing Sofia in the Broadway revival, which ran from 2015 to 2017.
The cast also includes Taraji P. Henson, H.E.R. and Halle Bailey. The film, to be directed by Blitz Bazawule, begins production this spring and is scheduled for release in 2023.
Fantasia took to Twitter to share her thoughts about nabbing the part.
I’m so excited to be a part of @WBPictures #TheColorPurple with @tarajiphenson, @HalleBailey, @thedanieb, @HERMusicx, @ColmanDomingo, and Corey Hawkins! pic.twitter.com/XzfKXWJKJm
— Fantasia Taylor (@TasiasWord) February 4, 2022
“I’m so excited to be a part of @WBPictures #TheColorPurple with @tarajiphenson, @HalleBailey, @thedanieb, @HERMusicx, @ColmanDomingo, and Corey Hawkins!”
Fantasia continued in a Tweet thread: “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.”
“I hope that every little black girl who is fighting to be heard and recognized also promises to never give up in spite of the costs,” Fantasia wrote. “Now everyone who has been wondering why I’ve been missing and so quiet can see that I’ve been dedicating all of my time to All Things Purple! (Matthew 20:16)”
The singer struggled while playing the role on Broadway
When Fantasia played the role on Broadway, she struggled, missing so many performances, that it made the rumor mill. Eventually she shared that she had a tumor on her throat that left her drained and exhausted. “I couldn’t get enough sleep and sometimes onstage, I could taste blood … every now and then,” she told Sister 2 Sister magazine at the time. “They (producers) would send me to the hospitals and they would say, ‘Well, she’s dehydrated; that’s what’s making her tired.’ They would put IVs in me. But it just wasn’t enough.”
Fantasia also played Celie in a The Color Purple national tour in 2009.