With an opening gross of $18 million at the box office Blitz Bazawule’s musical movie adaptation of The Color Purple has made its mark as the second-biggest Christmas Day opening of all time. 

Within the first few scenes of the film, viewers may have noticed a surprise appearance from one legendary actor who got her breakthrough in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 version of The Color Purple, which was adapted from Alice Walker’s famed novel. Whoopi Goldberg, who portrayed adult Celie in the 1985 classic, makes a surprise appearance as a midwife who helps young Celie (Phylicia Pearl Mpasi) give birth.

“We struggled with figuring out where it could happen and what character she would be, because the Spielberg film looms so large in our culture,” screenwriter Marcus Gardley reflected on Goldberg’s surprise appearance in an interview with the The Los Angeles Times. “It’s one of the most beautiful scenes because you see [Goldberg] looking upon [Mpasi] with pride and telling her, ‘You can do it.’”

For her portrayal of Celie in the original 1985 adaptation of The Color Purple, Goldberg was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

“I just remember how caring and loving she was to Phylicia,” said director Blitz Bazawule in the same interview.

Bazawule’s musical version of The Color Purple is based on the stage musical, which was in turn based on Walker’s 1982 novel of the same name. The musical stars Fantasia Barrino in the role of Celie as well as Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, H.E.R., and Halle Bailey.

Watch our Shadow and Act interviews with the cast of The Color Purple in the video above.