Chaka Khan Reveals Why She Turned Down Steven Spielberg For 'The Color Purple'

The iconic singer shared who she could have played in the award-winning film.
Singer Chaka Khan. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
Singer Chaka Khan. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)
Santiago Felipe via Getty Images

Chaka Khan wasn’t too keen on the opportunity to star in “The Color Purple.”

The iconic singer, who appeared on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” Friday, said she turned down Steven Spielberg’s offer for a lead role in the beloved 1985 film.

“Funny you should ask that,” Khan said after Hudson asked her about projects she had declined during her long career. “Well, you know I turned down ‘The Color Purple,’ the movie.”

Hudson, who appeared shocked, replied, “What?”

Khan said Spielberg approached her about being in the movie when she was “20, 22 tops,” but nervousness and an aversion to studying kept her from jumping on the opportunity.

I was like, trying to run [from] that because I was afraid,” the Grammy-winning singer said. ”I was like, ‘Oh God, a movie, oh my God.’”

“I like detested school and tests and studying, you know, I said, ‘Oh, that means I’d have to learn the script,’” Khan added.

The “Through the Fire” singer said that the Oscar-winning director asked her to play Celie, the role that Whoopi Goldberg ultimately portrayed in the critically acclaimed film.

After Khan revealed who Spielberg asked her to play, Hudson told her audience: “Imagine Chaka Khan as Celie, y’all?”

“Woulda been hot,” Khan replied.

“That would have been a whole other Color Purple,” Hudson quipped.

“The Color Purple”, which starred Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and Goldberg, was produced by Spielberg and Quincy Jones.

Based on Alice Walker’s classic 1982 novel, the film centers on Black women from the rural South during the early part of the last century, trying to survive and thrive under cruel conditions.

The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Goldberg and Best Supporting Actress for both Winfrey and Margaret Avery.

A new movie musical adaptation of “The Color Purple,” produced by Spielberg and directed by Blitz Bazawule, is currently in the works.

The upcoming musical is set to star Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Fantasia Taylor as Celie, Colman Domingo as Mister, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Halle Bailey as Nettie, Corey Hawkins as Harpo and singer H.E.R. as Speak.

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