The Academy Award-nominated actress will play the role of Mama, who is Celie and Nettie’s mother. She is the embodiment of the “Great Ancestor” and the source of both of her daughter’s strength and perseverance.
Ellis joins the project following the success of the highly acclaimed King Richard. Last month, she was also an honoree at the 2022 ESSENCE Black Women In Hollywood ceremony, marking another high point in an already-storied career; which includes her roles in Men of Honor, Ray, If Beale Street Could Talk, and The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel.
Alongside Ellis, the cast for the new version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel features Fantasia Barrino as Celie, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle as Young Nettie, Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister, David Alan Grier as Reverend Avery, Tamala J. Mann as First Lady, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as Young Celie, Deon Cole as Alfonso, Stephen Hill as Buster, and Ciara will portray Nettie as an adult.
Written in 1982 by Alice Walker, the book was adapted into a film in 1985, and starred Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey. The movie followed the life of a young girl named Celie and highlighted the many struggles that Black women encountered in the 1900s.
Directed by Blitz Bazawule and produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders, The Color Purple is set for a global theatrical release in December of 2023.