Grammy winner Jon Batiste, best known as the bandleader and musical director of Stay Human for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, will make his acting debut in the upcoming film musical The Color Purple, according to Rolling Stone.
Batiste has been cast in the role of Grady, a womanizer married to singer Shug Avery, to be played by Taraji P. Henson.
Batiste will join the previously announced Color Purple stage alums Fantasia Barrino as Celie and Danielle Brooks as Sophia, Grammy winner Ciara as Adult Nettie, Henson as Shug Avery, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, Tony nominee Colman Domingo as Mister, 2020 Tony winner David Alan Grier as Reverend Avery, Aunjanue Ellis as Celie and Nettie's mother, Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie, Louis Gossett, Jr. as Ol' Mister, Broadway Lion King alum Phylicia Mpasi as Young Celie, Tamela Mann as First Lady, Deon Cole as Alfonso, and Stephen Hill as Buster.
Blitz Bazawule, who co-helmed Beyoncé’s visual album Black Is King, will direct, with Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders, and Steven Spielberg serving as producers. Marcus Gardley will write the screenplay, adapted from Marsha Norman’s stage book and Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray’s score. The stage musical was adapted from Walker's 1982 Pulitzer-winning novel and its 1985 film adaptation.
The Color Purple debuted on Broadway in 2005, winning original Celie LaChanze a Tony Award for her performance. A 2015 revival helmed by John Doyle earned its Celie, Cynthia Erivo, a Tony Award before propelling her to Hollywood stardom. Brooks co-starred with Erivo as Sophia, the role she will reprise in the upcoming movie musical.