Director Blitz Bazawule discusses The Color Purple

December 16, 2023 DGA Membership Screening Q&As in LA and NY

Lyrics and melody are added to a popular tale in Director Blitz Bazawule’s musical drama, The Color Purple.

Bazawule’s film breathes new life into the decades-spanning story of Celie, a woman who faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood on her journey to independence.

On December 2, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Bazawule discussed the making of The Color Purple during a Q&A moderated by Director Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King). He also spoke about the film with Director Bill Condon (The Good Liar) following the New York screening on December 16.

During the Los Angeles conversation, Bazawule revealed how his background as a musician helped with the musical storytelling.

“I kind of did have a bit of a cheat code coming in. When you’ve been night after night playing to thousands of people, you understand how musical storytelling works. And for me — because I also ended up having to watch every musical ever — those that found organic ways into which music permeated the scene are the ones that I loved. The ones where the music just appears out of the sky, I struggled with. So, we knew we were going to figure out how many organic ways the music would appear, starting from the opening shot. When the horse starts to come in and you hear the horse’s hooves and a little bit of the banjo. And then the girls patty-caking. And then, before you know it, it blossoms. Or the guys building or putting up posters with hammers and, before you know it, it builds into a sonic cadence. Those were things that I was very, very focused on to make sure we were never going to just stumble into music.”

Bazawule’s other directorial credits include the feature film The Burial of Kojo, the movie for television Black Is King and episodes of the series Cherish the Day. He has been a DGA member since 2019.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber (Los Angeles) & Marcie Revens (New York) – Print courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

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