Based on the eponymous stage musical, which in itself is adapted from the 1982 novel of the same name written by Alice Walker, ‘The Color Purple’ is a coming-of-age musical drama movie helmed by Blitz Bazawule. Moreover, it is also the second film adaptation of the novel after the eponymous 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg. The historical film takes us to the decades-spanning journey of Celie Harris-Johnson, an African American woman who resides in the South during the early 1900s.
Throughout her life, Celie goes through many challenges and hardships, helping her grow into a strong and resilient woman. Thanks to her loving and unbreakable bonds of sisterhood, she manages to find the strength and courage to carry on. Showcasing heartfelt acting in the drama film are Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor. While their brilliant performances captivate the viewers’ interest, the musical’s interesting backdrops keep them guessing where the film was shot.
The Color Purple Was Filmed in Georgia
‘The Color Purple’ was taped across different areas of Georgia, including the Atlanta metropolitan area, Savannah, Jekyll Island, Macon, and Midway. According to reports, production for the movie musical got underway in March 2022, and after four months of an intense and fun shooting schedule, the principal photography was wrapped up in July of the same year.
Atlanta Metropolitan Area, Georgia
With the Atlanta metropolitan area serving as one of the primary production locations, the filming unit spent quite a while in different cities within the metropolitan area. For instance, Edgewood Avenue in the Inman Park neighborhood of the city of Atlanta is where one of the scenes between Shug and Celie was recorded. As far as the scene where Celie meets Mister, it was reportedly lensed around Griffin Street in the city of McDonough.
A wholesome scene between the two sisters having a wonderful time together was captured on Main Street in the city of Grantville. The locales and features of Atlanta have been utilized by many filmmakers for several productions over the years. Some of the widely popular ones are ‘Pain Hustlers,’ ‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Into the Wild,’ and ‘I, Tonya.’
Other Locations in Georgia
For shooting purposes, the production team traveled to several other locations across Georgia. To be specific, the old city of Savannah and the surrounding areas were turned into film sets during the production process, with the director and his team spotted around the United States Customhouse at 1–3 East Bay Street in Savannah. Moreover, over the course of 10 days, from March 16 to March 23, 2022, several pivotal sequences were taped on Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, during the day as well as the night.
A few scenes shot on the beach include the two lead characters spending some quality time together, some characters reading a letter by a dead tree, one of the characters being kicked off a horse, and many more. The consolidated city-county, Macon, also hosted the production of ‘The Color Purple,’ while the shooting in the area led to the closure of a few downtown roads on April 11, 2022. It seems that some scenes for the drama movie were also recorded in the city of Midway.
Describing the opening beach scene involving the two little girls sitting and singing on a tree branch, The Credits of the Motion Pictures Association asked Dan Laustsen, the cinematographer of ‘The Color Purple,’ how he managed to capture that. He revealed, “We filmed that in Savannah, Georgia. When you shoot on a beach, you can not bring a bunch of stuff in because the sand is so soft. We shot some of that on a Technocrane and also used a Steadicam, which gave us more flexibility to chase those girls as they were playing around. It was like a small ballet. We’d spent a lot of time on blocking and the scene those girls were very aware of the camera.”
Talking about his experience shooting the film during the pandemic, Laustsen expressed, “It was a super difficult three or four weeks. We had to shoot the Easter dinner scene five times because people were getting Covid all the time. We’d have to shut down, take the lights away, come back again. But when you see the scene, you don’t feel that because Blitz knows how to get the actors and everyone else aligned.”
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