Oprah Winfrey Brings Actress Danielle Brooks to Tears with Surprise Casting News

danielle brooks cat

Danielle Brooks got the call of a lifetime from the one and only Oprah Winfrey.

During the ABC special, Soul of a Nation: Screen Queens Rising, Oprah surprised the Orange Is the New Black star on video chat and told her that she got the role of Sofia in the big-screen musical remake of The Color Purple.

“I am here representing all things purple to tell you that you are our Sofia,” Oprah said while wearing purple-colored eyeglasses and a matching turtleneck sweater. “I’m so happy to pass whatever baton from 35, almost 40 years ago, to you. And I know you're going to kill it.”

Overcome with tears, Brooks gleefully thanked the former talk show host for her kind words. “My heart is so full, thank you,” Brooks said. “And I tell you, Ms. Oprah, I did not get to thank you enough the first time. So, thank you. I'm so glad I get to tell you face-to-face thank you for the journey that you allowed me to have the first time.” (Brooks is likely referring to her portrayal of Sofia in the recent Broadway production.)

Based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel of the same name, the 1985 movie adaptation told the story of a young, Black woman named Celie. The narrative also depicted the adversities Black women endured during the 20th Century. 

Oprah played the role of Sofia in the film, marking her film debut and first big acting credit. She also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her outstanding performance.

Directed by Steven Speilberg, the movie was praised by critics and received numerous accolades following its release (like being nominated for eleven Academy Awards). Also, the movie starred notable names such as Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Laurence Fishburne and more. 

Oprah wanted to personally deliver the news to Brooks because she cares about Sofia so much, even to this day. “I have such love for her, this character, everything she represents, and everything she brought to my life,” she added. “And what I'm hoping is that she does the same thing for you.”

Brooks will star alongside a talented ensemble cast for The Color Purple remake, including Fantasia Barrino as Celie, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, Colman Domingo as Mister, R&B singer H.E.R. as Squeak and Halle Bailey as Nettie. The musical is expected to premiere sometime in 2023. 

We can’t wait to see The Color Purple return to the big screen. 

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Assistant Editor, News And Entertainment

Karelle McKay is the Assistant Editor of News and Entertainment at PureWow. Before she started writing about all things pop culture, she was a literal couch potato who loved...