Taraji P. Henson Teases 'The Color Purple,' Says Oprah Winfrey Has Visited the Set Several Times (Exclusive)
By Mekishana Pierre
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Taraji P. Henson has a lot going on, but if there's one project she's excited to chat about, it's The Color Purple. ET's Kevin Frazier spoke with the 51-year-old actress on the 2022 BET Awards red carpet, and the show host shared a few behind-the-scenes details on her role as Shug Avery in the Blitz Bazawule-directed film adaptation of the Broadway musical.
"I don't think anybody's ready for it, it's beautiful," Henson said of filming the musical. "We're not done, still working and I gotta go back after this but I don't think anybody's ready. It blows me away every day what we put in the can. It's just amazing cinematography."
Danielle Brooks and Fantasia Barrino star alongside Henson as Sofia and Celie, respectively. Additional cast members include Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol' Mister, David Alan Grier as Reverend Avery, Tamela J. Mann as First Lady, Phylicia Mpasi as Young Celie, Ciara as Adult Nettie, Deon Cole as Alfonso and Stephen Hill as Buster.
The film, which began shooting in Georgia in March, is being produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, the latter of whom Henson revealed has visited the set "several times." Spielberg directed the 1985 film of the same name that Winfrey starred in.
Henson said there's something "special" about working on the film's set, likening it to her experiences filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Hidden Figures.
"Every day we're like, 'Wow, can you believe what we’re doing?' This is special, you can feel it," she added.
"It's magical, that's the only way I can put it," Henson said of the production. "Blitz's vision is just so majestic and I don't know if I've ever seen Black people look so beautiful."
She continued, "In a time when it wasn't beautiful for Black people, there's still beauty there and joy. It's not so heavy and depressed and weighing on the trauma, you know, it's really about how miraculously Black people can find joy even in the darkest places."
The project gives audiences a chance to see Henson shine in a musical. "I have goosebumps just thinking about the music and what Fatima has done with this choreography," she shared. "I don't think you guys are ready. You certainly aren't prepared to hear me sing the way I'm singing in this because every time I hear myself, I'm shocked over and over again. Like, that's me!"
The Color Purple is set to come out on Dec. 20, 2023.