Oprah Winfrey Says Execs Wanted to Cast Beyoncé or Rihanna in 'The Color Purple' Adaptation | lovebscott.com

Oprah Winfrey Says Execs Wanted to Cast Beyoncé or Rihanna in ‘The Color Purple’ Adaptation

Oprah Winfrey opened up about some unrealistic casting expectations she encountered while producing the new musical adaptation of The Color Purple.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday, the icon, 69, opened up about how as the budget for her upcoming film increased, so did expectations. 

“To be completely honest about it, if you were doing this film for $30 or $40?million, the interest in the cast would be very different,” Winfrey, who starred in the 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel and produced the new movie, told the outlet. 

“Once the film moved to $90 to $100?million, then everybody wants us to bring Beyoncé,” she said.

The former television talk show host explained that while certain big names are undoubtedly talented, so are others. 

“‘Can you get Beyoncé or can you get Rihanna?’ So we’re sitting in a room saying, ‘Listen, we love Beyoncé. We love Rihanna, but there are other actors who can do this job,’” Winfrey said. 

She added that while many advised that the Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé artist, 42, would “be busy this year,” it was a topic that wasn’t on her mind: “It wasn’t even a negotiation, because you’re not getting Beyoncé.”

The Selma actress admitted there were times when she and fellow producers Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones — who both worked on the original Oscar-nominated film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel — would have to ask Warners Bros. for financial assistance to ensure that they delivered a worthy product. 

“I would have to say that [Warner Bros. co-chairs] Pam [Abdy] and Mike De Luca really got it from the first time they saw the film, and understood that they heard me and heard Steven and heard the team when we said, ‘This is the reason why this has to be done,’?” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “You have to give us more money to do this because this is a cultural manifesto in a way for our community, and it deserves to have the support that’s needed to make it what it needs to be.”

Winfrey was joined by cast members Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson for the Hollywood Reporter interview. 

Henson, 53, recognized the original film’s flaws, despite its stature. “The first movie missed culturally,” she told the outlet. “We don’t wallow in the muck. We don’t stay stuck in our traumas. We laugh, we sing, we go to church, we dance, we celebrate, we fight for joy, we find joy, we keep it. That’s all we have.”

The Empire alum noted that from the new film’s “first frame,” audiences will see how “different” the new film is. “The coloring is different. It’s light, it’s bright, it’s vibrant. It’s us,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

Halle Bailey, Louis Gossett Jr., Corey Hawkins, David Alan Grier, Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, H.E.R., Ciara, Jon Batiste and Deon Cole also star in the film. It is an adaptation of the 2005 Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Beyoncé or Rihanna in ‘The Color Purple’ wouldn’t even feel right — but that’s Hollywood for you.

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