Five-time Grammy-winning musician Jon Batiste is set to make his feature acting debut and joined the cast of the upcoming musical film version of The Color Purple directed by Blitz Bazawule.
Grammy winner Jon Batiste to make acting debut in Blitz Bazawule’s The Color Purple
According to Deadline, Jon Batiste, who has been band leader and musical director on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since its 2015 launch, will make his big-screen acting debut as Grady, a debonair, sweet-talking piano man who is the epitome of charm and eloquence and husband of Shug Avery (Taraji P. Henson). The producers for the feature film include Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones. The Oscar winner joins a star-studded cast led by Fantasia Barrino as Celie, a Black woman whose personal awakening in the American South of the early 20th century is at the center of this epic story.
The full ensemble features Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Henson as Shug Avery, Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, Ciara as Nettie, Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie, 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, Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister and recent Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis as Mama, mother to Celie and Nettie.
As the report notes, the forthcoming Warner Bros. musical film is based on the Tony-winning Broadway show, from a script by Marcus Gardley based on Alice Walker’s novel. Scott Sanders is also a producer, alongside Spielberg, who directed and produced the original film; Winfrey, who co-starred in it; and Jones, who also was a producer on the first pic. Walker, Rebecca Walker, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Carla Gardini and Mara Jacobs are exec producers. The Color Purple is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2023.
Meanwhile, Jon Batiste recently dominated the Grammy Awards with five wins, including Album of the Year. The multi-genre performer picked up five Grammys from 11 nominations last week. Despite this marking his first film role, Batiste is already an Oscar winner. In 2020, Batiste won the Best Original Score for Disney-Pixar’s Soul, an honor he shared with fellow composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. In doing so, Batiste became the second Black composer in history, after legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock, to win an Academy Award in that category.
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