This week belongs to Halle Bailey and Halle Bailey only. On top of the grand debut of The Little Mermaid this weekend, which hits theaters May 26, Warner Bros. has also unveiled the first look at The Color Purple, in which the actress plays another major role.
In the upcoming adaptation of the 2005 musical (based on Alice Walker’s classic 1982 novel), Bailey stars as Nettie, the younger sister of lead Celie (American Idol’s Fantasia Barrino). The pair play their clapping game while sitting on a tree branch together, leading each other through the woods as they enjoy one another’s company.
“Today, our teacher taught us about a place called Africa,” Nettie tells her sister. “She said our mamas come from queens over there. That means that we’re royalty.”
But, as most know, The Color Purple is not all sunshine, rainbows, and sisterhood. Yet the movie musical seems to largely focus on that last part—sisterhood—focusing on these ladies' struggle to find their way in Georgia in the early 20th century. Celie and Nettie have had a rough upbringing, to say the least, but they’re always around to support each other through their darkest hours.
That is, until the sisters are split apart. As the pair grows older, each of them is forced into a marriage that draws them away from each other, taken across the country in isolated cities, where they may never see one another again. From there, the musical follows the life of Celie, as she grows old without her biological sister, while finding kinship in her place with women like Shug (Taraji P. Henson) and Sofia (Danielle Brooks).
Along with the aforementioned stars, folks like Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, and Oscar-winning singer H.E.R. join the cast. Steven Spielberg—who directed the adaptation of original The Color Purple in 1985—returns to executive produce, alongside Oprah Winfrey. Black is King’s Blitz Bazawule directs a script from Marcus Gardley, who collaborated with Marsha Norman, who wrote the musical’s book, as well as Alice Walker.
The Color Purple premieres in theaters Dec. 25.