Jon Batiste to make acting debut in The Color Purple

Jon Batiste has been cast in the upcoming musical The Color Purple, which will be his first acting role in a feature film.

It’ll be yet another milestone in a whirlwind year for Batiste, who won five Grammy Awards — including album of the year — earlier this month after already winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe a year earlier.

Directed by Blitz Bazawule, The Color Purple is a period drama adapted from the 2005 stage musical of the same name, which is in turn based on Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer-winning novel.

The film tells the coming-of-age story of Celie (played by Fantasia Barrino, in her own feature film debut), an African-American woman living in the American south during the early 1900s.

Batiste has been cast as Grady, the sweet-talking, piano-playing husband of jazz and blues singer Shug Avery (played by Taraji P. Henson). The character is described as “the epitome of charm and eloquence” — a role that ought to come naturally to the charismatic Grammy winner.

The film will also star Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Danielle Brooks, H.E.R., Ciara, Louis Gossett Jr. and David Alan Grier.

The Color Purple was also previously adapted for film in 1985, directed by Steven Spielberg and co-produced by Quincy Jones.

Spielberg and Jones have returned as producers for the new film, along with the stage musical’s producers Scott Sanders and Oprah Winfrey.

The Color Purple is presently slated to be released in the U.S. on Dec. 20, 2023, by Warner Bros.


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