Oprah Winfrey says the 2023 film reimagining of The Color Purple is “one of the culminating moments” of her life.
The award-winning US talk show host said the classic story was “a huge part of our culture” and that the cast and crew had been aware they were taking on a project of “immeasurable” importance.
The film, due for release in the US on Christmas Day, is a reimagining of Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name.
It depicts the growing up and self-realisation of Celie, a young African-American girl, who overcomes oppression and abuse to find fulfillment and independence.
Winfrey starred in a previous version of The Color Purple in 1985 alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover, which was directed by Steven Spielberg.
The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, but failed to win any – tying the record set by 1977’s The Turning Point for the most Oscar nominations without a single win.
Its 2023 reimagining is directed by Blitz Bazawule and stars Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks and Taraji P Henson.
Winfrey and Spielberg serve as producers alongside Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones.
“One of the things that was so moving to me is that from the very first day of shooting… I think everybody, especially the cast and crew, understood that we were taking on something that was immeasurable in terms of its soulful connection to the audience,” Winfrey said, speaking in a Q&A session on Monday.
“To this day, families still gather together and watch The Color Purple, even though everybody could recite every line.
“So I think the energy, the kind of vibrational frequency that shows up – the kind of soulfulness and heart and devotion and commitment that shows up when you know you’re working on something that’s special, comes through in the joy in the film.
She continued: “We knew that we had something that was meaningful and important, and a valuable offering – I see this film as an offering.
“I hope it will be as well received as we certainly intend for it to be as… intended as it was from our hearts to do something that would really matter in people’s lives.”
Winfrey praised Bazawule and his “boldness of vision” for the project.
“It is a classic, it is iconic, and to be able to step into that with the boldness of vision that Blitz had with this film, and create this magically realised version where we actually go inside Celie’s head – it’s pretty incredible,” she said.
She continued: “The reason this moment is so important is because, for as long as there is a need for self discovery, self empowerment, as long as there is a need for victory in someone’s life. As long as there is a need for people to know what it feels like to be loved up and to be made full and whole to somebody else’s love, there will be a need for the Color Purple.”
The Color Purple will be released in the UK and Ireland on January 26 2024.