Fantasia Barrino has reflected on her character’s journey with her sexuality in The Colour Purple in an interview with Attitude.
The new musical version of the Alice Walker novel, previously adapted for the screen in 1985, hits UK cinemas on 26 January.
American Idol alumni Fantasia plays main character Celie, who is trapped in an abusive marriage to Mister (Colman Domingo) and strikes up a romantic and sexual relationship with Shug (Taraji P. Henson).
The film follows Celie’s life from the 1910s to the 1940s.
“It had to come from a woman”
Fantasia spoke to Attitude last November in a joint interview with co-star Danielle Brooks.
“It wasn’t that Celie said: ‘I want a woman’,” Fantasia opined. “I just think, Shug was the first person. I think, Celie didn’t want to be touched by a man.
“Shug comes in and turns her whole damn road out. The first thing that happens is she gives Shug a bath!”
The 39-year-old said of the central relationship, which was infamously underplayed in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 version: “I opened up in such a way that I did not dissect anything other than let it live and let it be. I walked into it honestly.
“Shug comes into [Celie’s] life and is the first person to show love, outside of Sofia. But it was different.”
To this, Danielle replied: “Sofia can’t give her that kind of love. Well, she probably could!” before adding on balance: “I think Sofia, as much as I would have loved her to be a little spicy and be bisexual, she’s straight up! She’s an eggplant lover!”
The Colour Purple is released in UK cinemas on 26 January 2024.