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Shooting Begins On 'Dreamgirls' Movie

January 19th, 2006 12:50pm EST
Beyonce stars in DreamgirlsThe "girls" are back and the dream is bigger than ever. Principal photography is underway on DreamWorks Pictures' and Paramount Pictures' big-screen version of the Tony Award-winning musical sensation "Dreamgirls." Shooting began on Monday, January 9, at the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, under the direction of Academy Award winner Bill Condon. Filming on "Dreamgirls" will also be accomplished at Los Angeles Center Studios, as well as on location in and around Los Angeles.

"Dreamgirls" brings together an ensemble of award-winning stars from the worlds of film, Broadway, television, and the recording industry, including Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx, recording superstar and actress Beyonce Knowles and box office favorite Eddie Murphy. The film also introduces "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson, making her feature film debut as Effie. Rounding out the main cast are veteran actor Danny Glover, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Sharon Leal, and three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle.

Set in the turbulent 1960s to mid-70s, "Dreamgirls" follows the rise of a trio of women -- Deena (Beyonce Knowles), Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) -- who have formed a promising girl group called The Dreamettes. At a talent competition, they are discovered by an ambitious manager named Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx), who offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the back-up singers for headliner James "Thunder" Early (Eddie Murphy). Curtis gradually takes control of the girls' look and sound, eventually giving them their own shot in the spotlight as The Dreams. That spotlight, however, begins to narrow in on Deena, finally pushing the less attractive Effie out altogether. Though the Dreams become a crossover phenomenon, they soon realize that the cost of fame and fortune may be higher than they ever imagined.

Bill Condon is directing "Dreamgirls" from a screenplay he adapted from the stage musical's original book by Tom Eyen. An Academy Award winner for his screenplay for "Gods and Monsters," which he also directed, Condon earned another Oscar nomination for his screenplay adaptation of "Chicago." Academy Award-nominated producer Laurence Mark ("Jerry Maguire," "As Good As It Gets," "I, Robot") is producing "Dreamgirls," with Patricia Whitcher ("Memoirs of a Geisha," "The Terminal") executive producing. The lyrics are by Tom Eyen, with music by Henry Krieger.

Behind the camera, Condon is collaborating with several acclaimed artists to bring the world of "Dreamgirls" to the big screen. Production designer John Myhre, who won an Academy Award for "Chicago" and also garnered an Oscar nomination for "Elizabeth," comes to "Dreamgirls" following his highly praised work on "Memoirs of a Geisha." Costume designer Sharen Davis, who was honored with an Oscar nomination for her work on the hit biopic "Ray," is creating the wide-ranging costumes for "Dreamgirls." The creative team also includes director of photography Tobias Schliessler ("Friday Night Lights"); editor Virginia Katz, who previously worked on the Condon-directed films "Kinsey" and "Gods and Monsters"; and casting director Debra Zane ("War of the Worlds"). The music supervisors are Randy Spendlove ("Chicago," "The Aviator") and Matt Sullivan ("Rent," "Chicago"), with the songs being arranged and produced by The Underdogs (Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon Thomas).

In preparation for the cameras rolling, Condon and his cast have been busy for the past two months rehearsing the unforgettable musical numbers that made "Dreamgirls" one of the most successful stage musicals of all time, together with some new songs that have been written specifically for the big-screen adaptation. Putting the cast through their paces is Fatima Robinson, the choreographer behind some of the hottest music videos, films and live concerts in the industry today.

A co-production of DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, "Dreamgirls" will be distributed domestically by DreamWorks, with Paramount handling the international release.

"Dreamgirls" is slated for release on December 22, 2006.


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