After Disney’s Live-Action The Little Mermaid, Halle Bailey Has Already Joined Another Musical (And Oprah Approves Of Her Character)

Halle Bailey has carved out an impressive career for herself, both as a singer and as an actress. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that many of her most exciting roles allow her to combine both of those talents. Now that she’s wrapped on The Little Mermaid, she’s turning her attention to another adaptation of another famous story – this time, the musical version of The Color Purple. And if she has any fears about taking on such a tremendous story, it sounds like she’s got Oprah’s seal of approval. 

Earlier this week, Oprah Winfrey revealed the cast members for the latest adaptation of The Color Purple to Variety. While cast members like Fantasia Taylor, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks and In The Heights’ Corey Hawkins are undoubtedly excited to get to work, their new co-star, Halle Bailey, took to Instagram to share her own joy at the opportunity: 

feeling oh so grateful to be apart of this historic film as nettie thank you God

If you have read or seen The Color Purple in any of its adaptations, you know that Nettie is the sister of the protagonist, Celie. When Vanity Fair's Anthony Breznican pointed out that even though Nettie runs away in the story, she’s still a vital character and requires an actress who can still make an impact even without much screen time. Oprah agreed: 

That’s such an astute observation. She’s somebody whose presence you can feel in her absence—the memory of her, the feeling of her, the strength of her comes through, even when you’re only hearing her voice from her letters.

Oprah has a long history with The Color Purple, which was first a novel by Alice Walker before it was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film directed by Steven Spielberg. She rose to fame off the strength of her performance as Sofia, and went on to become a celebrated actress, talk show host, and media mogul. 

In 2022, the media mogul will step behind the screen and serve as a producer for the new film, which is itself an adaptation of a Broadway musical, not unlike West Side Story. So knowing that she believes that Halle Bailey is capable of playing Nettie has to be a huge boost of confidence for the young actress. 

We already know Halle Bailey is ready for big things in her career. She recently spoke about how thrilled she is to have been given the chance to reinvent the role of Ariel for Disney’s upcoming live action Little Mermaid adaptation. And though we already know she looks (and sounds) the part of a Disney princess, taking on such an important role in such an important film will likely make her even more in demand. 

There’s no word yet on when The Color Purple will hit theaters – but The Little Mermaid is set to premiere on May 26, 2023. Until then, keep an eye on CinemaBlend’s new movie release guide for up-to-date information about what’s hitting theaters next. 

Katherine Webb