'The Color Purple’: Steven Spielberg Explains Why He Shied Away From Lesbian Relationship on Screen

Spielberg admits to softening the lesbian relationship in Alice Walker's acclaimed novel for his 1985 film adaptation of The Color Purple.
By: SheWired Editors
December 05 2011 8:21 PM

Director Steven Spielberg admits to softening the lesbian relationship in Alice Walker's acclaimed novel for his 1985 film adaptation of The Color Purple.

"There were certain things in the [lesbian] relationship between Shug Avery and Celie that were very finely detailed in Alice's book, that I didn't feel we could get a [PG-13] rating," Spielberg tells EW's Anthony Breznican. "And I was shy about it. In that sense, perhaps I was the wrong director to acquit some of the more sexually honest encounters between Shug and Celie, because I did soften those. I basically took something that was extremely erotic and very intentional, and I reduced it to a simple kiss. I got a lot of criticism for that."

Asked if he'd do it differently now, Spielberg replied, "I wouldn't, no. That kiss is consistent with the tonality, from beginning to end, of The Color Purple that I adapted."

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