In a candid interview with Variety Magazine, Fantasia Barrino has thrown open the doors to her soul, sharing her tumultuous journey into reprising her role as “Celie” in the highly anticipated 2023 remake of The Color Purple. It’s a tale of redemption, resilience, and refusing to let the past define her.
A Second Chance at Celie
When Oprah Winfrey initially approached Fantasia in 2021 to play Celie, she turned it down flat. Why? Fantasia had already lived the character during her Broadway stint for nine intense months in her early 20s, and the emotional weight of Celie was almost unbearable. “I carried her every day, all day, and I didn’t like that feeling,” she confessed.
The Director Who Changed Everything
But fate had other plans. A meeting with director Blitz Bazawule at Fantasia’s North Carolina home flipped the script. Blitz assured her that this time, the audience would get to hear Celie’s inner monologue, to see how she navigated her tumultuous journey. Fantasia was intrigued and saw a chance to breathe new life into a character that had haunted her.
“You get to see how she made it through some of this stuff,” Fantasia explained, speaking of the character’s evolution in the 2023 adaptation. It was a chance for Celie to finally tell her own story.
Facing Demons, Both On and Off-Screen
Fantasia’s dedication to Celie knew no bounds. When it came to scenes where Celie’s husband, Mister, portrayed by Colman Domingo, had to get physical, Fantasia shocked everyone by refusing to use a stunt double. Domingo initially pushed back, but Fantasia’s unwavering resolve prevailed. She insisted on taking the punches herself.
But it wasn’t just about the art; it was about personal catharsis. Fantasia revealed that through this experience, she managed to confront her own past trauma, specifically, her encounters with domestic violence. “I could let go of every man that’s ever put his hands on me. I freed myself from that,” she emotionally confessed.
A Rediscovery of Celie
As the interview delved deeper, Fantasia shared her newfound perspective on Celie. In her eyes, Celie was not the downtrodden, ugly, or illiterate character she had once believed. Instead, she realized that Celie was the glue holding everything together. “Celie was not dumb,” Fantasia asserted, “She was the piece to the whole puzzle that kept everybody together.” It was a profound rediscovery, both for the character and for Fantasia herself. I’m grateful that I did not allow those voices in my head to hold me back from stepping into this woman’s shoes,” she said.
Christmas Day Premiere
The remake of “The Color Purple” is slated to grace theaters on Christmas Day, promising an emotionally charged and transformative experience. The star-studded cast includes Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks as Sophia, and Halle Bailey as young Nettie, among other talented actors.