Corey Hawkins: “Oprah’s advice is gold and Juilliard reunions are lit!”

Corey Hawkins and Danielle Brooks, stars of the musical adaptation of The Color Purple, are not only colleagues but also old Juilliard pals. That’s right, these two go way back. They were in the same class at Juilliard over a decade ago, and their friendship has stood the test of time.

Hawkins, who plays Harpo in the film, couldn’t contain his excitement at seeing his old friend shine in the spotlight. “I remember calling [producer] Scott Sanders and literally hung up the phone, picked it back up and I was like, ‘Bro, it has to be Danielle Brooks right? I’m not crazy.’ And of course it was, it always was,” he exclaimed. “She’s an incredible talent, she stands on her own, and when people see this film they will understand the magnitude of what she brings, of what all of these women bring. But I’m so happy to see her shine.”

As for Brooks, she is over the moon about the opportunity to revive her role as Sofia in The Color Purple and has received valuable advice from none other than Oprah Winfrey herself. “Oprah’s given me so much advice and she’s just poured into me every step of the way,” Brooks gushed. “From the minute that she Zoomed me (to say she’d gotten the part), she’s been holding my hand through this process and I’m very, very grateful for that.”

But the Oprah advice train didn’t stop there. Hawkins also received some pearls of wisdom from the queen herself. He revealed that Oprah gave him advice on how to embrace his character’s smaller, quieter moments. Plus, he had the pleasure of watching her re-experience the film for the first time, which he described as a moment he’ll never forget. And to top it off, they all did the Electric Slide after. Classic Oprah move, right?

The film also features an all-star cast of women, including Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino, and H.E.R. Hawkins acknowledged the weight the actresses carry as Black women portraying these roles on screen and expressed his commitment to being their support system. “It’s a load to carry so I’ve just got to be there for them,” he said.

As for H.E.R., who makes her feature film debut in the project, she had nothing but praise for her co-stars. “We supported each other, made each other laugh, because some parts were very heavy so it was so important for us to keep uplifting each other and just keeping it light and fun in between takes,” she shared. “It’s so cool that I have these incredible big sisters, they taught me so much.”

With the film hitting theaters on Dec. 25, the cast is gearing up for what they hope will be a celebration of Black people and women. And judging by their camaraderie and support for one another, it’s safe to say audiences will feel the love and strength that went into making this film.

So, mark your calendars for The Color Purple and get ready to witness the magic of Corey Hawkins and Danielle Brooks, two old Juilliard pals living out their dreams on the big screen. And don’t forget to thank Oprah for all the invaluable advice!

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