LOS ANGELES — Taking shelter from a relentless rainstorm, superstar actor/musicians Jamie Foxx and Beyoncé Knowles kept themselves dry Monday night by mixing business with pleasure. Welcoming more than 100 members of the press, the “Dreamgirls” stars partied a little and danced a lot while attempting to ensure that moviegoers will go “Steppin’ to the Bad Side” with them come December.
The 80-year-old Orpheum Theatre in downtown L.A. is the current home for the production, now in its seventh week of filming. Director Bill Condon (“Kinsey”) and members of the crew showed off costumes, props and sets from the upcoming movie, based on the Tony-winning Broadway musical of the same name and starring Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover and former “American Idol” contestant Jennifer Hudson.
Taking place over 15 years, “Dreamgirls” follows the Dreamettes — a girl group consisting of Deena (Knowles), Effie (Hudson) and Lorrell (stage actress Anika Noni Rose) — who are discovered at a talent competition by Foxx’s starry-eyed talent manager, Curtis Taylor Jr. While performing as backup singers for superstar James “Thunder” Early (Murphy, in a substantial pompadour wig), the girls find stardom pulling them apart and creating friction between Deena and Effie (see “Beyonce Slimming Down And ‘Completely Becoming Deena’ “ ).
After seeing a brief clip of the smartly dressed Foxx dancing down an alleyway as he and two men belt out the show’s signature “Bad Side” tune, the crowd was escorted into the ornate theater. Once inside, director Condon called “Action!” and the curtains lifted, revealing Knowles, Hudson and Rose clad in the red sparkling dresses and beehive hairdos of the early-’60s period piece. As the music kicked in, the actresses picked up the song where Foxx had left off, dancing around the stage as a choreographed army of men mugged behind them.
Once the scene had been filmed, with the attending VIPs supplying the applause, Foxx strolled onstage. Dressed in khaki pants and a green sweater, the affable Oscar winner lamented the rain, gushed over his chemistry with Knowles and joked about his surprise over Murphy’s enthusiasm for the project. The crowd of critics with “Pluto Nash” memories giggled at the veiled reference to Murphy’s occasional missteps. Foxx then nailed a perfect imitation of the veteran comedian, recounting a moment when Murphy pulled him aside on set and said that “Dreamgirls” was shaping up to be a dream itself.
Eager to entertain his guests, Foxx invited the assembled crowd back to the adjoining prop room, where he convinced them to drink with him until 2 a.m. in order to avoid going back into the rain. Foxx, Condon and the others worked the room, while a still-in-costume Beyoncé attracted the largest crowd, greeting guests and posing for pictures.
Shooting continues for several more weeks, and the film is targeting an Oscar-bait release at the end of the year, following the path of 2002 Best Picture winner “Chicago.” With several “Chicago” and “Ray” veterans behind the scenes, “Dreamgirls” will also have a soundtrack timed to the film’s release, featuring the talents of Beyoncé, Foxx and the others.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Dreamgirls.”
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