LOS ANGELES — The remake of the famed film "The Color Purple" hit theaters on Dec. 25 with a star-studded cast with Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo and Halle Bailey.

The film has surpassed initial box-office projections and generated Oscar buzz. 

What You Need To Know

  • The remake of the famed film "The Color Purple" hit theaters on Dec. 25 with a star-studded cast

  • Bowers is also responsible for scores behind the popular "Bridgerton" and "Queen Charlotte," as well as films like "When They See Us" and "King Richard"

  • The film ia shortlisted for Best Original Song at the 2024 Academy Awards
  • Alongside Ben Proudfoot, Bowers is also the co-director of the film "The Last Repair Shop"

Meanwhile, it has a unique connection to Los Angeles through its composer, Kris Bowers.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bowers' musical destiny was set by his parents even before birth.

"My parents decided before I was born they wanted me to play piano," he said.

Now an Academy Award and Grammy-nominated composer and pianist, Bowers found inspiration in movies and connected with the world of film composition. 

"The Color Purple" held a special place in his heart.

"My first connection with 'The Color Purple' was watching the film and reading the book when I was in high school," he said. "It was the first time that I realized Quincy Jones was a film composer, and that really became the moment that I saw myself pursuing this as a career."

Bowers is also responsible for scores behind the popular "Bridgerton" and "Queen Charlotte" series, as well as the mini-series "When They See Us" and the film "King Richard." Alongside Ben Proudfoot, he's also the co-director of the film "The Last Repair Shop," which looks at the musical instrument repair shop of the Los Angeles United School District, where Bowers grew up. 

The heart of "The Color Purple" lies in its music, and Bowers embraced the challenge of redeveloping the music for the remake.

"A lot of it was just taking seeds from the songs and the way they were reimagining those songs and using those as jumping-off points for me to get into the score," he said.

Bowers meticulously crafted the score, honing in on the pumping baseline of the character Sofia and infusing the base as a primary instrument for her scenes or picking jazz elements to complement the character 'Shug' in the film.

"The score for her moments in the film is infused with jazz horns and jazz instrumentation," he detailed, highlighting the importance of music in conveying the story's emotions.

And Bowers isn't the only one the music touched. Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, who plays young Celie in the film, also emphasized its significance.

"I studied musical theater in college, so I really came at 'The Color Purple' from a more educational standpoint," Mpasi said. "Orchestrations, structures of it, I think, is so cool of how diverse it is, which is amazing because it's such a diverse story representing Black people. So it's like you're seeing the spectrum of Blackness and you're also seeing a spectrum of music within the piece as well."

The song "Keep It Moving," performed by Phylicia and Halle Bailey, was shortlisted for best original song at the 2024 Academy Awards, while the film is also shortlisted for best original score. 

The official nominations come out on Jan. 23. 

"To be representing, you know, our city and how much my family has a really strong foothold in this city. It really means a lot to be a part of this film for those reasons as well," Bowers said. 

"The Color Purple" continues to captivate audiences in theaters, and Bowers' contribution to the film adds a unique and resonant layer to the remake's success.