Riding the wave of winning five Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year earlier in April, Jon Batiste is now turning his attention to the art of acting.
The singer-songwriter, 35, has signed-on to join the cast for the remake of The Color Purple, which has the backing of such powerhouse names as Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones, who are all serving as producers.
For his big screen acting debut, Batiste will be playing the role of Grady, a debonair, sweet-talking piano man, who’s the husband of Shug Avery, according to Deadline.
From music to acting: Jon Batiste, 35, is set to make his big screen acting debut in the musical film adaptation of The Color Purple
Many fans know Batiste as the band leader and musical director on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert since its launch in 2015.
He has also released six studio albums since 2005, with the latest being We Are, which helped him win his Album Of The Year Grammy in 2022. Batiste has also dropped three collaborative albums, two soundtrack albums and five live albums over the years.
The New Orleans native, who’s an alum of The Juilliard School, has garnered a slew of accolades during his musical career, including winning a BAFTA Award and an Academy Award for Best Original Score for Soul, which he shared with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Along with his 11 nominations and five wins at the Grammys a couple of weeks ago, the musician also has three other nominations: Best American Roots Performance for St. James Infirmary Blues (2019), Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Chronology of a Dream: Live at The Village Vanguard (2021) and Best New Age Album Meditations (Shared with Cory Wong), also in 2021.
Batiste has been tapped to curate a multi-concert series at Carnegie Hall this year.
Acclaimed: Batiste is riding the momentum of winning five Grammy Awards, including Album Of The Year; he’s pictured at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in Las Vegas on April 3, 2022
The Color Purple follows the life-long struggles of an African American woman living in the South during the early 1900s.
Fantasia Barrino plays the lead role of Celie Harris, alongside Colman Domingo (Mister), Taraji P. Henson (Shug Avery), Corey Hawkins (Harpo), Danielle Brooks (Sofia), HER (Squeak), Ciara (Nettie), Louis Gossett Jr. (Ol’ Mister) and David Alan Grier (Reverend Avery), among others.
Directed by Blitz Bazawule, the film is an adaptation of the 2005 Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name, which was based on Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Rebecca Walker, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Carla Gardini and Mara Jacobs are all onboard as executive producers.
Scott Sanders is also among the producers alongside Spielberg, who directed and produced the original 1985 film; Winfrey, who brings her experience of starring in the first film as Sofia; as did Quincy Jones, who was a producer.
The original: The Steven Spielberg directed version of The Color Purple (1985) that starred Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover as Celia and Mister
Back for more: Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Quincy Jones, who all were involved in the 1985 film version are all serving as producers in the new musical film adaptation
Spielberg’s version, which starred Whoopi Goldberg as Celie Harris and Danny Glover as ‘Mister’ Albert Johnson, received critical acclaim, particularly for the acting, including Goldberg’s performance, as well as the direction, screenplay, musical score and production values.
It went on to become a box office hit, grossing $142 million on just a $15 million budget.
The original Broadway musical ran from 2005 to 2008, earning 11 Tony Award nominations in 2006, with LaChanze winning Best Actress In A Musical as Celie.
An acclaimed Broadway revival opened in late 2015 and ran through early 2017, winning two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Cynthia Erivo for Best Leading Actress In A Musical in her Broadway debut.
The musical has also won Grammy and Emmy awards.
Filming for the new musical coming-of-age period drama began in March 2022, with production taking place at Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island, which is located off the coast of Georgia.
The Color Purple is scheduled to make its premiere in theaters in the US on December 20, 2023.
At the helm: Blitz Bazawule, 39, is directing the new musical version of The Color Purple, which is slated to premiere in theaters in the US December 20, 2023