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June 13, 2024

Whoopi Goldberg Makes Surprise Cameo in “The Color Purple” While Oprah Winfrey Declines

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Dec 29, 2023

The recently released movie musical adaptation of “The Color Purple” made a splash over the holidays, bringing in $17.1 million at the domestic box office on Christmas day alone. The film, directed by Blitz Bazawule, features an all-star cast led by Fantasia Barrino, Colman Domingo, and H.E.R. But one of the most talked-about moments has been a surprise cameo by Whoopi Goldberg, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance as Celie in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation.

Whoopi Goldberg Reprises Iconic Role Over 30 Years Later

In the new film’s final scene, an elderly Celie is shown opening her heart-shaped box containing letters from her sister Nettie. When she looks up, Goldberg as the older Celie is revealed, reprising her defining role over 30 years later.

The emotional scene was kept tightly under wraps. Writer and producer Alice Walker explained her thought process behind the meaningful cameo:

“I thought a lot about the end and how Celie would close this part of her life. I realized that there’s nobody except Whoopi who could play old Celie. She’s simply magnificent.”

Director Blitz Bazawule echoed the sentiment, saying:

“It was vital to me that Whoopi reprise her role as Miss Celie in this legacy musical adaptation. No one could’ve embodied the life and soul of our beloved character like Whoopi Goldberg, and I’m eternally grateful that she trusted Blitz and me to close out Miss Celie’s story.”

Goldberg herself has commented little on her return to the role, but the powerful scene alone makes it clear why only she could give this version of Celie closure nearly four decades after introducing her to the world.

Oprah Declines Cameo Despite Starring in Original Film

While Goldberg made her emotional return, Oprah Winfrey noticeably does not appear in the new adaptation despite her co-starring role as Sofia in the original film.

When asked about it, Winfrey explained she intentionally opted not to cameo:

“I thought about it because when Blitz asked me I was thinking it would be nice for people to see. But then I thought, I don’t want to get in the way of people seeing this new production, these new performers, through new eyes.”

The talk show icon wanted audiences to take in this reimagined version without the distraction or limitations of seeing the two biggest stars from 1985 back on screen.

Surprise Cameo Receives Rave Reviews from Fans

Fans have been raving about Goldberg’s short but incredibly meaningful scene. One fan tweeted:

“I legit started crying when I saw Whoopi. It was so perfect and special. My entire theater gasped. Chills!”

Many see it as a moving “passing of the torch” moment to a new generation:

{{< table >}}

Reviewer Quote
@moulinrougefan “Whoopi’s cameo had me sobbing. So symbolic to see her with Fantasia, like she was passing on the role she made iconic.”
@CeliesLetters “I couldn’t imagine the movie ending any other way. Seeing Whoopi as Celie again after all these years is so nostalgic but also looking ahead to the future.”
@AngelasAshes “They kept it so well hidden! Burst into tears when Celie turned around – only Whoopi could play that role.”

{{< /table >}}

Clearly Goldberg’s brief but powerful cameo strikes the perfect emotional note to tie together past and present.

Surprise Cameo Part of Overall Successful Opening

The new adaptation is proving a critical and commercial success so far, further demonstrated by its record-setting Christmas debut.

“The Color Purple” raked in $17.1 million on Christmas day alone, the largest Christmas opening ever for a musical.

It marks a hugely promising start for the musical version as it heads into wider release. Between the all-star cast, Goldberg’s surprise, and overwhelmingly positive reviews, the film is resonating strongly with audiences.

The soundtrack also shot to #1 on the iTunes soundtrack chart, showing the music’s impact. With its fresh take on Alice Walker’s beloved novel, the movie seems destined to introduce a new generation to this unforgettable American story.

What Explains Success of New Adaptation?

But what exactly explains the new film’s ability to feel poignant yet distinct from the 1985 version?

Several key factors come into play:

Powerful Lead Performances

  • Fantasia Barrino’s raw, emotional turn as Celie earns widespread praise
  • Trans actress H.E.R.’s screen debut as Squeak brings new dimension
  • Danielle Brooks of “Orange Is the New Black” breaks out as Sofia

Fresh Perspective

  • Emphasis on Black joy, resilience, community over suffering
  • African themes & influences woven throughout
  • Musical numbers add vibrancy

“Passing the Torch” Moment

  • Whoopi cementing link between past and present
  • Reminds viewers of story’s enduring legacy

This winning combination of elements is clearly resonating with critics and audiences alike.

What’s Next for “The Color Purple” Adaptation?

Now the question is whether the new adaptation can demonstrate some staying power at the box office as it expands nationwide on January 6. Early signs point to continued success:

Oscar Buzz Building

  • Several performances already garnering awards speculation
  • Could mean wider audiences over awards season

Broadening Reach

  • Expansion to over 3,100 theaters next month
  • Chance for even bigger box office returns

Cultural Milestone

  • Marks rare revival to outperform original film
  • Demonstrates ongoing impact of Alice Walker’s story

If audience enthusiasm and critical acclaim continues, “The Color Purple” may enjoy a very long and profitable theatrical run – potentially surpassing $100 million.

And that emotional final cameo by Whoopi Goldberg will likely only further power this reimagined adaptation on its way into the pop culture zeitgeist. Audiences crave authenticity, and that singular moment delivers in spades.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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