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‘I’m Still Very New’: Halle Bailey Auditioned For The Color Purple While Filming The Little Mermaid, Credits Her Sister Chlöe For Helping Her Through Role

Just months after Halle Bailey became a Disney Princess with the debut of her live-action remake of The Little Mermaid among the summer’s 2023 new movie releases, the rising star is back for another movie musical with The Color Purple. The talented actress/singer has a couple personal reasons why the Christmas release felt like the right next role for her. 

During The Color Purple’s press conference, which CinemaBlend was in virtual attendance for, Halle Bailey opened up about when she was approached for the part of young Nettie and why the audition made her feel “closer to God.” In Bailey’s words: 

I remember Blitz had called and mentioned, I was in the middle of filming Mermaid when I actually submitted my self-tape for it, and I remember the first thing I read was that I would have to submit a gospel song. And, I remember being so excited, like ‘[sighs] Thank God, Yay!’ And I think I sang, ‘It Is Well.’ But, I took that as a sign, like ‘Wow, this is a project where I’ll not only be lifted by my own and protected, I feel like God is helping me and guiding me to this project to teach me things about what I should know about myself in the future and how to continue on this journey because I’m still very new and looking to them for guidance.

Halle Bailey spoke about the beginnings of her role in The Color Purple one day after going full Disney Princess at the movie’s purple carpet premiere in a gorgeous red ball gown. The role came to her while she was in the middle of making The Little Mermaid, and as a spiritual person, she felt lifted by her self-tape involving her singing a gospel song. Bailey also spoke to how the movie’s core sister relationship spoke to her as well. In her words: 

I was really pulling from my relationship with my own sister Chlöe, when it came to building Nettie’s personality, her traits and her strength and power. And I really honestly was playing off of how my sister Chlöe is for me, kind of a guide for me my whole life. Nettie is such a symbol of hope and perseverance and joy and just that remind that love and positivity needs to be shown through us. Even in the darkest moments, I felt like I had a really great guide from my sister Chlöe and then to be able to play it with the beautiful Felicia helped me so much. It was a really beautiful experience.

The Color Purple

Fantasia Barrino in The Color Purple

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Release Date: December 25, 2023 (Theaters)
Directed By: Blitz Bazawule
Written By: Marcus Gardley
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Fantasia Barrino, Ciara, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Jon Baptiste
Rating:  PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual content, violence and language
Runtime: 140 minutes

Halle Bailey has not been shy about her close relationship with her older sister, Chlöe Bailey, who are so tight knit that they even often get mistaken for each other. The sisters got their start as the duo act Chloe x Halle, which they started on YouTube before Beyoncé discovered them and signed them to her management company in 2015. 

When Bailey played Nettie, she took inspiration from her sister in a lot of ways. The Color Purple is about two sisters, Celie and Nettie, who are driven away from each other at a young age. The story then focuses on Celie as she’s forced to marry a man named Mister, and the audience goes on a journey with her throughout her life. 

In the short time that Halle Bailey has been a star, she’s dealt with public backlash regarding her The Little Mermaid casting and proving the haters wrong when it comes to her abilities to knock it out of the park as Princess Ariel. As she spoke to, she’s still new to the world of movies, with The Color Purple being her second major film role, which can be an overwhelming place to be. Bailey felt comfortable with The Color Purple and she’s ultimately so grateful for the experience. 

The Color Purple is now in theaters. You can check out what people think about the movie before you see it on the big screen. 

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