The cast of the 2023 movie adaptation of "The Color Purple" said it was important for them to retell the classic story in a new way as they walked the red carpet on Monday for the London premiere.
The new musical adaptation, directed by Blitz Bazawule, draws from a screenplay by Marcus Gardley, based on the stage musical of the same name, which were all based in turn on the 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker.
The 2023 version is the second film adaptation after a 1985 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, who won a Golden Globe for her performance as Celie.
"The biggest thing for me was just making sure that we can justify our reason for contributing to the canon of The Color Purple," Bazawule told Reuters on the red carpet.
The Color Purple follows the story of two Black American teenage sisters, Celie and Nettie, in the American south during the early 1900s.
Celie embarks on a journey to find her freedom after she and Nettie are separated by the men in their lives and must overcome years of abuse.
Bazawule, a Ghanaian filmmaker and record producer known for the film The Burial of Kojo, said he wanted to introduce Celie as a complex character, not just someone "docile and waiting to be saved" as she endured abuse.
For him, this vision for Celie differs from other adaptations because it allows audiences to delve into her headspace so they can begin to understand that there was no easy way out of the abuse she experiences.
The 2023 film, which arrives in theatres on December 25 and is distributed by Warner Bros Pictures, stars Fantasia Barrino as Celie and Ciara as Nettie.
Taraji P. Henson, who plays vivacious blues singer Shug Avery, who inspires Celie to fight for her agency, said she hoped she could make the crew behind the 1985 movie - including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Quincy Jones - proud.
"Now, I have to rise to the occasion. I love a good challenge," she said.