‘The Color Purple’ is finally embracing its queerness


The Color Purple The Colour Purple
Image: Warner Bros.

The Color Purple is a beloved book, film and musical, but an upcoming adaptation of the classic story promises to finally embrace its queer roots. 

Starring Fantasia Barrino as Celie and Taraji P. Henson as Shug, the movie musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name is being produced by Oprah Winfrey (who also starred in the original).

However, unlike the 1985 film adaption starring Whoopi Goldberg and Winfrey, the upcoming version is set to fully explore a lesbian storyline central to the story.

Screenwriter Marcus Gardley, who is queer, spoke to Queerty about the love story central to the tale and how it has been interpreted in different adaptations, saying that the queer romance “was very important” to his vision for the film.

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“That’s part of the reason I got the job. My pitch led off with, ‘This is a love story between two women’. It was the most important thing to Alice Walker,” Gardley said.

“In the original film, there was not enough of the romantic love between Celie and Shug. I wanted the love story to be prominent and didn’t want to brush over that these two women are in love.”

Gardley feels that Shug is bisexual, and Celie, despite being married to a man, is a lesbian.

“Celie says she hates having sex with Mister,” Gardley explained.

For queer fans of the novel, the upcoming adaption is set to authentically portray The Color Purple.

The Color Purple is set to be released in Australian cinemas on January 25, 2024.

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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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