After dominating the Grammy Awards with five wins including Album of the Year, Jon Batiste is ready to conquer a new medium – acting. The musician has joined the cast of ‘The Color Purple,’ directed by Blitz Bazawule, for his feature film debut.
Batiste is intended to portray Grady, the husband of Shug Avery (played by Taraji P. Henson). The easy-going, good-natured piano man has been described as “the epitome of charm and eloquence”.
He joins a star-studded cast led by Fantasia Barrino (in her own feature film debut) as Celie, a black woman whose personal awakening in the early 20th century American South is the focus of this epic tale. The full cast includes Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Henson as Shug Avery, Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, HER as Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, Ciara as Nettie, Elizabeth Marvel as Miss Millie, David Alan Grier as the Reverend Avery, Tamala J. Mann as First Lady, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi as Young Celie, Deon Cole as Alfonso, Stephen Hill as Buster, Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister, and recent Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis as Mama, Mother of Celie and Nettie.
The upcoming Warner Bros. musical film is an adaptation of Alice Walker’s legendary American novel and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated 1985 film and the Tony-winning Broadway musical it inspired. Oprah Winfrey, who made her feature film debut in this film, is producing the new project under her Harpo Films banner; Spielberg also returns to produce for Amblin Entertainment. Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones, who both produced the Broadway musical, are also producers. Executive Producers are Alice Walker, Rebecca Walker, Mara Jacobs, Carla Gardini, Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Fell.
Batiste is perhaps best known as the bandleader and musical director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on CBS, where he has been since 2015. Although this is his first film role, Batiste is already an Oscar winner. In 2020, Batiste won the Best Original Score award for Disney-Pixar’s Soul, an honor he shared with fellow composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. This made Batiste the second black composer in history, after legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock, to win an Oscar in this category.
Outside of film and television, the New Orleans-born musician earned his first Grammy nomination (for Best American Roots Performance) in 2018, followed by two more in 2020 for self-produced albums, Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard” and “Meditations” (with Cory Wong). His 2021 studio album We Are was released to overwhelming critical acclaim and contributed significantly to Batiste’s massive tally of 11 Grammy nominations in seven categories. After his five Grammy wins and his rousing performance on the show, Batiste’s music saw a 950 percent increase in streaming. Batiste is represented by CAA and attorneys Dan Shulman and Evan Krauss at Eisner, LLP.
https://variety.com/2022/film/news/jon-batiste-the-color-purple-1235233656/ Jon Batiste joins the cast of The Color Purple