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Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey developing Color Purple musical for big screen

War Horse, Steven Spielberg

Story by Jack Foley

STEVEN Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey are collaborating on bringing acclaimed Broadway musical Color Purple to the big screen.

Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders, who also produced the Broadway version, are also part of the creative team, which is based on the Alice Walker novel. Spielberg intends to produce.

Spielberg is, of course, no stranger to The Color Purple, having already directed a non-musical movie version starring Whoopi Goldberg, which earned 11 Oscar nominations.

The musical followed, hitting Broadway in 2005, and earning 11 Tony nominations. It didn’t win best musical, but the 2016 revival that starred Cynthia Erivo won two Tonys, including best musical revival, as well as a Grammy and an Emmy.

The musical has grossed more than $350 million, with the help of the many touring versions that have circulated the US, and is widely credited with helping to change the demographics of Broadway attendance – 50% of its audience came from the black community as opposed to the normal single digits.

Commenting on the big screen version, Sanders told The Hollywood Reporter: “We’re really excited to create a film that translates the heart and emotion we found in telling this generational story on stage. This is an incredibly powerful drama that needs to be shared.”

The story of The Colour Purple follows is a decades-spanning tale of a black woman named Celie, who grows up in intense poverty in the American South and endures harsh treatment from her stepfather, husband and others in her life, which tests her faith in God and humankind. It is a classic triumph against the odds story.

Walker won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, becoming the first black woman to do so.

As yet, the movie version remains in the early stages of development and will next look to land a writer.

No casting decisions have been made and it is not clear whether Spielberg – who is currently preparing another musical adaptation, West Side Story, for the big screen, will direct.

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