Oprah’s ‘The Color Purple’ Revelation: The $35,000 That Changed Her Life

Oprah Winfrey recently sat down with Essence for an exclusive interview where she reflected on her iconic role in The Color Purple, a 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg. The media mogul shared some remarkable insights into how her decision to take a mere $35,000 for the role turned out to be one of the most transformative experiences of her career.

A Full-Circle Moment

Oprah says

Winfrey, who portrayed the fierce and defiant character Sofia in the movie, reminisced about the upcoming movie musical based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and how it’s truly a "full-circle moment" for her. Her portrayal in the film earned her an Academy Award nomination, a testament to her remarkable talent.

The Film That Changed Everything

Oprah Winfrey Talks

Winfrey expressed how this film, adapted from Walker’s novel, changed her life in profound ways. It was a pivot in Spielberg’s career, and the film garnered a staggering 11 Oscar nominations. The story’s enduring power has been reaffirmed through its adaptation into a Broadway musical in both 2005 and 2015.

"I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to me," Winfrey stated. "They were only offering $35,000 to be in this film, and it is the best $35,000 I ever earned. It changed everything and taught me so much. It is God moving through my life."

Passing the Baton

In the 2023 film reimagining of the novel, Winfrey’s 1985 character, Sofia, will be portrayed by Danielle Brooks, best known for her role as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson in "Orange Is the New Black." Brooks expressed her gratitude towards Oprah for the opportunity and guidance, saying, "Thank you for leaving space for me but also being there, to hold my hand and answer that phone call when I needed you."

A Testament to Black Excellence

Black Excellence in Movies – The Tower

Winfrey took a moment to thank the cast of the forthcoming adaptation, particularly acknowledging the presence of "all of you beautiful Black women bearing witness to the story." She believes that the film will touch, move, and heal everyone who watches it.

"I believe that what Fantasia has said is true: Everybody who comes to see our film is going to be touched. They will be moved. And they will be healed."

Oprah’s Humble Beginnings

Oprah shared her earlier experiences during the 1985 film’s production, admitting that she was "terrified" at the time. In an interview with The Times, she revealed, "I was terrified… I didn’t know what I was doing."

But despite her initial fears, Oprah’s performance in "The Color Purple" remains a shining testament to her immense talent and resilience.

In summary, Oprah Winfrey’s role in "The Color Purple" may have only paid her $35,000, but it undoubtedly stands as one of the most significant and transformative moments of her career. Her journey from humble beginnings to Hollywood stardom is an inspiration for many, and the enduring power of this timeless story continues to touch hearts and inspire audiences around the world.

Discovering Hidden Gems in ‘The Color Purple’

What does Oprah say about The Color Purple?

Oprah Winfrey, the renowned producer of the upcoming film adaptation of The Color Purple, expressed her deep appreciation for the project, calling it culturally and artistically significant. In exclusive footage shared by PEOPLE, cast members and key figures, including director Blitz Bazawule, joined Oprah in praising the film. According to Oprah, "There’s nothing that’s been more important or vital to me culturally or artistically than The Color Purple."

Did The Color Purple make money?

The Color Purple proved to be a box office triumph, raking in a substantial $98.4 million in revenue, a remarkable feat considering its $15 million budget. The film garnered widespread critical acclaim, with a special focus on its exceptional acting, direction, screenplay, musical score, and production quality, notably Whoopi Goldberg’s outstanding performance.

Who said all my life I had to fight in The Color Purple?

Sophia‘s iconic line from The Color Purple resounds powerfully: "All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers." This enduring quote encapsulates the character’s resilience and strength in the face of adversity.

What character was Oprah in The Color Purple?

Oprah Winfrey portrayed the character Sofia in the film adaptation of The Color Purple. Her role as Sofia in the 1985 movie was a pivotal moment in her career and remains a memorable part of the film’s legacy.

What’s the famous line from The Color Purple?

One of the most famous lines from The Color Purple is the powerful statement: "I’m Poor, Black, I May Even Be Ugly, But Dear God, I’m Here! I’m Here!" This profound declaration reflects the film’s themes of resilience and the celebration of one’s existence.

What is the message of The Color Purple?

The Color Purple beautifully portrays the journey of Celie, a character who evolves from a life of oppression and abuse to self-realization, fulfillment, and independence. This powerful narrative also delves into the important theme of gender equality.

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