Oprah Calls Salary for Original Color Purple Movie the ‘Best $35,000 I Ever Earned’ | lovebscott.com

Oprah Calls Salary for Original Color Purple Movie the ‘Best $35,000 I Ever Earned’

Oprah Winfrey says she was paid only $35,000 for her role in ‘The Color Purple’ — and that it was the best $35k she ever earned.

via People:

In an Essence magazine cover story interview conducted in May and published Tuesday, Winfrey said she “wanted nothing more in my life than to be in The Color Purple” when Alice Walker’s novel was becoming a screen adaptation in 1985.

“They were only offering $35,000 to be in this film,” the media mogul, 69, said of the paycheck for her feature film debut. “And it is the best $35,000 I ever earned.”

In conversation with the stars of director Blitz Bazawule and screenwriter Marcus Gardley’s upcoming movie musical The Color PurpleFantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson and H.E.R. — Winfrey added that playing Sofia in the original film “changed everything and taught me so much. It is God moving through my life.”

Directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted by Menno Meyjes, 1985’s The Color Purple cast Winfrey as the assertive Sofia despite her lack of acting experience at the time. Her powerhouse performance went on to earn a best supporting actress Academy Award nomination, one of the film’s 11 total nods. 

At the 2016 Essence Fest, Winfrey described her obsession with Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and determination to make it onto Spielberg’s set. “I didn’t need a speaking role. I was willing to carry the script, help people with the water,” she said at the time, reports Entertainment Weekly.

On The Oprah Winfrey Show and in interviews since, producer and composer Quincy Jones confirmed that he glimpsed Winfrey onscreen in her job as a local television host in Chicago. As Winfrey remembered, “Quincy Jones calls Reuben Cannon, the casting agent, and says ‘I think I found Sofia.’ ”

Playing Sofia in the new Color Purple movie is Brooks, 34, who earned a Tony nomination for her performance in the role during the 2016 Broadway revival of Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray and Marsha Norman’s musical. That production costarred Jennifer Hudson and a Tony-winning Cynthia Erivo

In an OprahDaily.com recap of a visit in May to the set of the new film, Winfrey wrote that she “unexpectedly burst into happy tears at the very first sight of the gifted Danielle Brooks… It felt like the baton was truly being passed on in one of the most special moments in my life. We both hugged and ugly cried together.”

“Thank you for laying the blueprint for Sofia,” Brooks told Winfrey in Essence. “I know that she’s changed your life, and I can feel that mine is about to shift, too. Thank you for leaving space for me but also being there, to hold my hand and answer that phone call when I needed you. You have been such a light, such a beautiful soul.”

Barrino assumed the leading role of Celie in the musical’s original Broadway production in 2007, taking over from the Tony-winning LaChanze. The American Idol winner now follows Whoopi Goldberg in the same role on the big screen. 

Winfrey, who serves as producer of the upcoming movie musical, said in footage that Warner Bros. Pictures shared with PEOPLE, “There’s nothing that’s been more important or vital to me culturally or artistically than The Color Purple. It is a solid base of spiritual and emotional power for me.”

Sometimes it’s truly not about the money — but the opportunity.

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