Oscar- and Grammy-winning R&B star H.E.R. is setting her sights on Hollywood.
The 24-year-old songstress is set to appear in the upcoming film adaptation of The Color Purple musical for Warner Bros. She will play Squeak, per Variety, an aspiring singer and love interest of Harpo, who will be played by Corey Hawkins.
The Color Purple, directed by Blitz Bazawule, is due for release on December 20, 2023. Based on Alice Walker’s iconic novel of the same name, the story follows Celie, a young Black woman facing abuse in many forms from various people in her life as she works to discover her identity. Walker, Oprah Winfrey (who starred in the original non-musical adaptation), Steven Spielberg (who directed the 1985 flick) and Quincy Jones are among the film’s producers. Marcus Gardley (The Chi, Tales of the City) has penned the screenplay.
No additional casting has been announced, though is expected in the coming weeks.
It’s unclear whether H.E.R. — born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson — will produce any original music for the film, though seeing as to how she’s fresh off of an Oscar win for the song “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah, it stands to reason that her musical talents may be employed beyond just her vocals on the film’s soundtrack.
H.E.R. also had a big year musically, winning the coveted Song of the Year award at the Grammys for the politically charged “I Can’t Breathe,” released in the weeks following George Floyd’s death. She’s won three other Grammys throughout her career.
The star previously expressed interest in acting in an interview with Variety.
“There is so much I want to do. People don’t really get to see my comedic and fun side, except for when I’m impersonating my aunt,” she said earlier this year. “But I definitely want to do a lot more voice-overs, and comedy, but also some serious roles. I’m trying to do it all, I know. Whatever it is, one thing at a time. I’m gonna get there.”
H.E.R.’s casting comes amid a rise in interest in musicians putting their acting abilities on display. Every year since 2018 has seen an actor primarily known as a musician earn an Oscar nom for their acting abilities. The trend began with Mary J. Blige in Mudbound before Lady Gaga’s nominated turn in A Star Is Born, Cynthia Erivo’s role in Harriet and, most recently, Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami…), Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holliday) and Riz Ahmed (The Sound of Metal) each received nominations.