Blitz Bazawule has been signed to helm the forthcoming Warner Bros. film adaptation of The Color Purple musical, according to Deadline.
Producers of the show – Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones – opted for Bazawule after watching his 2018 feature film The Burial of Kojo which was hailed as “a spellbinding experience” and “a striking feature filmmaking debut” by The Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter respectively.
Winfrey told Deadline “We were all blown away by Blitz’s unique vision as a director and look forward to seeing how he brings the next evolution of this beloved story to life.”
Bazawule tweeted “Honored to be reimagining Alice Walker’s classic novel The Color Purple for a new generation”
The director most recently co-directed Beyoncé’s Black is King visual album which has also garnered rave reviews.
The new film adaptation is penned by Marcus Gardley (The Chi) and will centre on the Broadway musical book by Marsha Norman with music by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. The musical is 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.
The musical 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. It is not known if Tony and Grammy award winning English actress Cynthia Erivo (Widows, Harriet), Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Danielle Brooks (Orange Is The New Black) will reprise their roles from the Broadway production.
Alice Walker’s acclaimed book was previously adapted into a film in 1985 (nominated for 11 Oscars), starring Whoopi Goldberg, with Winfrey playing an integral supporting role and directed by Spielberg.