Taraji P. Henson cast as Shug Avery in ‘The Color Purple’ movie musical

The Golden Globe winner joins H.E.R. and Corey Hawkins as part of the cast for the film adaption of the Broadway musical.

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The film adaptation of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, is taking shape as it adds another big name to its cast. Taraji P. Henson will star in the film as Shug Avery, as reported by New York Post.

Avery is a jazz and blues singer who befriends the main character, Celie, after being a mistress to her tyrannical, abusive husband, Robert, or “Mister.” Henson, 51, will join a cast that includes Emmy-winning actor Corey Hawkins as well as Academy Award and Grammy winner H.E.R. Hawkins will play Harpo, while H.E.R. will play his love interest, Squeak.

This will be H.E.R.’s acting debut; Hawkins, who won his Emmy for the Fox series 24: Legacy, has starred in The Walking Dead, Straight Outta Compton and In The Heights.

H.E.R. thegrio.com
H.E.R., winner of Best Original Song for “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah,” poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images)

The Color Purple Broadway musical was adapted from the 1985 Steven Spielberg film, which itself was adapted from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel. It chronicle’s Celie’s life from a teenager to an adult, living in the mid-1900s South.

The film, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Margaret Avery as Shug Avery, Rae Dawn Chong as Squeak and Oprah Winfrey as Sofia.

Winfrey went on to produce the film’s Broadway musical adaptation in the early 2000s, which featured a cast including Jennifer Hudson, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Holliday, Heather Headley and Fantasia. Headley played Shug Avery on stage.

Winfrey will produce the film version of the musical, which is being directed by Samuel “Blitz the Ambassador” Bazawule. The Brooklyn-based Ghanaian filmmaker is fresh off directing Black is King, Beyoncé’s 2020 film project built around her album, The Lion King: The Gift.

The Color Purple is his third film, following Black is King and his 2018 feature-length debut, The Burial Of Kojo.

Playwright Marcus Gardley will write the screenplay for the movie musical. Gardley is an executive story editor for several episodes of the Showtime drama series, The Chi.

In December, Henson starred in the the NBC musical Annie Live! as Miss Hannigan, the owner of the orphanage where little orphan Annie first resides. Miss Hannigan was famously portrayed on film in 1982 by comedian Carol Burnett. Henson also showcased her vocal chops in the 2005 film Hustle and Flow, singing the hook on the Academy Award-winning song, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”

The Color Purple is slated for a Dec. 20, 2023 release.

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