Danielle Brooks Needed Physical Therapy After Sustaining An Injury Filming ‘The Color Purple’

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Every job comes with risks and actors aren’t exempt from them. Danielle Brooks, an actress and star in The Color Purple musical adaptation, opened up about the unexpected physical effects of playing Sofia in the movie. While filming the scene of her character being arrested, she threw her back out.

“I ended up having to do that scene over the course of two days for multiple hours a day, and it pulled my back out,” Brooks, 34, shared with Indiewire. “Swinging back and forth trying to get the mob off of me.” 

Similar to the original, in the 2023 version of the movie, a group of men beat and later arrest Sofia for a confrontation she has after refusing to work as a maid for a white woman.

Brooks continued, “Of course, we have an incredible stage combat leader [stunt coordinator Mark Hicks] and his crew were fabulous, but doing it over and over, that really took me out, where I had to do physical therapy and go to the chiropractor for a few weeks to recover while still having to work.”

The movie, which was released on Christmas day 2023, features a cast of A-list stars including Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey, and Ciara. The movie was also also produced by Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg while Blitz Bazawule directed the film.

While Brooks was hurt on set, she didn’t see it as a problem since giving each role she takes on 100 percent is important to her. 

“I pride myself on being a physical actor,” Brooks explained. “That’s where I live. I love finding how I can use all of my body for the character. I just want to use everything that I can.”

The Orange is the New Black actress also attributes the training she got from the prestigious Juilliard School for helping her through the recovery process and getting back to herself post filming. Actors usually become entrenched in the roles they play and sometimes express how hard it can be to come out of character. 

“I wrote in my journal at the end of it, I was like, ‘After 70-plus days of playing Sofia, I’m completely depleted.’ I was so drained,” Brooks explained.

She continued, “I do credit Juilliard for teaching us how to come out of character, how to not always go to the darkest of places within ourselves, to know when you do go there, that there is a way to pull out that you don’t have to stay there. Each actor, you find your own way. And again, mine is taking off that wig right away, putting that hot towel on my face, taking the clothes off, wearing my jumpsuit and my Dr. Martens, getting my swag back, getting my spirit back. That helps me.”

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