This week, director Bill Condon began lensing Dreamgirls, which may be the most eagerly-anticipated movie of the year. The Dream Works studio has finally released a new trailer and there's also a wonderful behind-the-scenes featurette which you can either view online (Quicktime, WMP or real Player) or download in iPod and PSP formats.
Above, left to right, the stars are Anika Noni Rose, Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Hudson. Let's go behind the scenes and meet our Dreamgirls ...
Jennifer Hudson has the legendary role of Effie White. "I'm so grateful to have done American Idol and now Dreamgirls," Jennifer says in the featurette. "If it wasn't for Idol, I wouldn't be here today." We're glad that Jen Hudson has landed such a plum role, a sure shot to stardom. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to step into a role like Effie because so many people are asking the same question: How will it sound? Of course, "it" being Jennifer Holliday's And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going, the show-stopping anthem that still brings to tears to the eyes of almost everyone who hears it. But there's no comparison to Ms. Holliday, so let's just look forward to the Hudson version.
Beyoncé Knowles is Deena Jones, the glamorous second string singer who becomes the star of the new and improved girl group, The Dreams. (Sounds familiar?) Ms. Knowles is looking incredibly fabulous here. In the interview, Beyoncé says that this role is the dream of a lifetime. "We finally put the wigs on and the makeup and we feel like it's really. It's something that we all wanted so badly and it's here."
Anika Noni Rose is Lorrell Robinson. Sorry, no behind-the-scenes q&a, but most of us know the girl who is a perfect size one with the voice of much larger gospel or R&B star. Her most impressive Broadway credit has been in Caroline or Change. But for the few hundred people who saw the movie musical bomb From Justin to Kelly, you should recognize her as Kelly Clarkson's sidekick.
Now the boys. Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx is Curtis Taylor, the ambitious young manager who offers The Dreamettes the role of a lifetime and molds them into crossover hits. You can just see Jamie eating this role up; he looks great, has tremendous presence, gives you that old skool cat-daddy vibe, and, sure, he can (kinda) sing.
Eddie Murphy is James "Thunder" Early, the headliner for whom The Dreamettes sing backup. They eventually outgrow him and become The Dreams. At this point, no plans to cast Eddie's "best friend" Johnny Gill, although we're sure that there's a part for him in here somewhere.
Last but certainly not least, the man who is making it all happen: Bill Condon. The Oscar-winning screenwriter/director also adapted the screenplay from the original Broadway book. Condon wrote and directed Kinsey and the screenplay for Chicago.
Dreamgirls hits theatres in December. Playbill has just announced that the release date will be December 22, which is a perfect time for the holidays and the upcoming awards shows. As you can tell, we'll be following the movie every step of the way. This post will be updated with more news and information, sort of a primer to the movie, but for anyone who isn't familiar with the story, the Wikipedia entry is rather thorough. Also, you've probably noticed that we now have a Dreamgirls category.
Fame comes and goes, stars rise and fall, but dreams live forever.Dreamgirls (Official Site) Dreamgirls: Complete History (Wikipedia) Dreamgirls Gets Release Date (Playbill) Dreamgirls Original Cast Recording (Amazon) Dreamgirls in Concert 2001 (Amazon) Dreamgirls in Concert: Review (Broadway)