ATLANTA — Fans of the fast-talking Foxxy Cleopatra may want to steer clear of next year’s “The Fighting Temptations.” For her latest picture, Beyoncé Knowles left the flashy outfits and exaggerated dialogue of “Austin Powers in Goldmember” behind.
“The ’Goldmember’ clothes were ridiculous,” Beyoncé said between takes on the set of “The Fighting Temptations.” “Every day it was like playing dress-up. They had all of the cool fabrics and everything. It was great. [But in] this movie [my character] is a real person. She’s very earthy, she’s very bohemian. She really dresses a lot like me, so the styling is really cool. And she has a son, so she’s really motherly. So that’s in the wardrobe.”
Beyoncé said after “Goldmember” became such a success, scripts came charging her way. “I was basically looking for the perfect script and the perfect director, because I’m not as experienced. This is only my third movie, and I still want to make sure the director is giving me great direction.”
“The Fighting Temptations,” which began shooting in August, is being headed up by Jonathan Lynn, whose credits include “My Cousin Vinny,” “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Clue.”
“When I found out Jonathan was doing it, I was like, ’Perfect,’ because his past work is so great,” Beyoncé said. “And I met with him and he made me feel really, really comfortable. I also feel comfortable because I [am] able to sing in the movie again, and before I did a movie that was all acting, I wanted to do another one to get more confident.
“What attracted me to this movie [also] is the music is incredible,” she said. “It’s a lot of gospel music in the movie, and that’s the most powerful music there is. Also, Cuba Gooding Jr. is a genius at his craft, and I’ve learned a lot from him [and] I knew I would. I knew I would have to challenge myself to hang with him.”
“The Fighting Temptations” stars Gooding as a New York ad executive who sets off for the South to claim a large inheritance — one that comes with a catch. As a requirement of his late aunt’s will, Gooding’s character must create a successful gospel choir before he can nab the dough, so he sets about organizing one built around a nightclub singer played by Knowles.
“She’s actually kicking butt in this movie,” Gooding said of his co-star. “She’s really got such a natural ability to just say the lines and bring realism to the dialogue. And no one’s seen her before like [they will] see her in our movie. I mean, you’ve seen her in the commercials, you’ve seen her in the ’Austin Powers’ movie … but she’s got to deal with a little bit of emotion in our picture.”
Also starring Mike Epps, Faith Evans and Steve Harvey, “The Fighting Temptations” is scheduled to hit theaters in August 2003.
—Ryan J. Downey, with additional reporting by Nick Zano