The Color Purple, a beloved story by Alice Walker, received a fresh musical adaptation in 2023, directed by Blitz Bazawule. The film, which also draws inspiration from the 1985 film and the acclaimed Broadway musical, made headlines for a particularly special cameo – that of Whoopi Goldberg.
Goldberg, who originally portrayed Celie in the 1985 movie, returned in the 2023 adaptation in a different, yet symbolically significant role. She appeared as a midwife in a scene where she assists the birth of Celie’s baby. This casting choice was not only a nod to the original film but also served as a symbolic bridge between the past and present adaptations of the story. The screenwriter, Marcus Gardley, highlighted the profound meaning behind this scene. He saw it as Goldberg not only encouraging the character during childbirth but also metaphorically passing down the role she had originated.
The efforts to keep Goldberg’s participation a secret were substantial. Director Bazawule and the team were highly discreet about her involvement. Only key crew members were aware of her role, and she was intentionally left unmentioned in press releases and remained uncredited for the role. This secrecy added an element of surprise for the audience, who would recognize the significance of Goldberg’s involvement in the context of the film’s history. Bazawule shared his experience of inviting Goldberg to join the cast, expressing his nervousness during the call and the warmth and enthusiasm Goldberg showed in accepting the role.
Goldberg’s cameo in the new “The Color Purple” is more than just a guest appearance; it’s a meaningful connection between the film’s past and present, emphasizing the enduring legacy of the story and its characters.