It was a big night in Hollywood Wednesday as the long-awaited musical version of “The Color Purple” enjoyed a star-studded premiere.
Producer Oprah Winfrey stunned in a long-sleeved purple Dolce & Gabbana gown.
“Extra’s” Melvin Robert spoke with the icon, telling her, “You look so beautiful. Do you feel as good as you look?”
She replied, “I feel better… Whatever I look like, I feel a hundred times better.”
Oprah starred as Sofia in the 1985 “The Color Purple” film, earning an Oscar nomination for her performance. She also produced the Broadway musical version in 2005 and 2016, and is now producing the new film, directed by Blitz Bazawule.
She called the remake a “full-circle” moment.
Melvin told her, “Here comes that woman with ‘The Color Purple’ story,’” asking, “What do you know now about ‘The Color Purple’ that you didn’t know before?”
“I know that it endures,” she said, adding of the novel by Alice Walker, “I know that the thing I felt when I first read that book that July Sunday in 1982, I think the power and the essence of that story still resonates with everyone else.”
She said of the new movie, which stars Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks, “I think this is reimagined for another generation, and who knows what will come after, because the principles of forgiveness and finding your joy and discovering God within yourself and being able to express that into the world in a way that we can see and know you’ve been redeemed, that thing will be needed forever. Not even AI can change it! You know what I mean? As long as there are humans, there will be a need for what ‘The Color Purple’ speaks to, so I feel good about that.”
Playing Sofia changed everything for Oprah, and Melvin noted, “You’ve said that you wouldn’t be who you are if it were not for this story.”
Oprah replied, “This film really changed everything for me. Everyone says it was about being in the movie, it was about everything that surrounded the movie. It was about the decision to surrender, to get the part, it was about being around Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones and Alice Walker every day and seeing, ‘Oh, that’s what your work should feel like. You should not feel like you’re working when you’re working…! It’s like you’re so impassioned that you want to go to work every day and you can’t wait to get there, which is what I was doing on that set. It feels like you own yourself. Me seeing Steven Spielberg own Amblin put the idea in my head that I can own a Harpo Studios.”
She continued, “When I say it changed my life, what it really did… I had to give up three years of vacation in order to do it, and only after I finished doing it did my lawyer say, ‘You never want to be in that position again. So, you should own yourself.’ So, it caused me to actually own ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ instead of being a paid talent.”
Mel shared that the actors told him she gave them the space to do their own thing on set. “There were a couple moments when I would say, ‘Okay,’ and I would go up and whisper to the director… I was an observer, and as a producer, your job is to try to keep things moving and make sure everyone has what they need. I love at this stage of my life being in that position to help someone else go and get it.”
“The Color Purple” hits theaters December 25.