*Fans of the 2006 musical masterpiece Dreamgirls can relive the magic with a Director’s Extended Edition now available from Paramount Home Media Distribution.
The dazzling Blu-ray Combo Gift Set and Digital HD release include 10 minutes of additional footage, plus never-before-seen Jennifer Hudson auditions and more!
Winner of two Academy Awards and three Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy, Dreamgirls, set in the 1960s, centers on singers Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose), and Deena (Beyoncé), who are discovered at a local talent show by ambitious manager Curtis Taylor Jr. (Jamie Foxx). The trio known as “the Dreamettes” is soon offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of opening for popular singer James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). Subsequently molded by Taylor and propelled into the spotlight as “the Dreams,” the girls find their bid for the big time taking priority over personal friendship, and begin to realize that the true cost of fame may be higher than any of them ever anticipated.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught up with director Bill Condon for a quick chat about his electrifying big screen adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical. Peep below what he had to say about working with Hudson, Murphy and Queen Bey. Condon also shares his fondest memory from the Dreamgirls filming expereince.
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What will excite fans the most about the special features and extras that you’ve selected for this extended edition?
BC: “Fans” is the right word ‘cause if you like it, if it’s a movie that you already know, I think you’ll be excited to see songs that weren’t included. Like a great song between Effie and her brother called “Effie Sing My Song.” Or you see additional verses of Eddie Murphy’s songs, or Jennifer Hudson songs or Beyoncé. So it’s just getting to see more of that and scenes that no one has seen before. Like a scene with Jamie Foxx that sets up the second half of the movie. Things that the movie was fine without them but I think they just make it a richer experience now.
How important was it for you to assemble a cast of Hollywood and pop culture icons for this project?
BC: You look at someone like Beyoncé and it’s the opposite of her story. There’s nothing manufactured about her. She’s just a huge, natural talent. But watching her actually dim her light, sometimes in the beginning parts of this movie, dim her charisma and then watch it come to life, I think added this level to the film. In a way Eddie too. Eddie as somebody, by the time this movie’s made, that we have loved for 30 years already. He’s still young but that kind of somebody you’ve known for a long time, that thing of, “Oh, God. Do we take him for granted?” No. This reminds you of just how in love with him we are and how extraordinary he is. It turns out that Jennifer’s story — in her own life and American Idol — ultimately triumphs by staying true to who she is. That gave it an extra resonance too.
There’s a lot of Jennifer Hudson goodies on the DVD and Blu-ray. Was there a lot of pressure on her, since this was her first major role?
BC: Yes. All of us tried our best to not make her feel that but I know she did because it’s not just that she’s in this film and she got this part. It’s THE part. It’s Effie. It’s the part where we could do everything else right and if that doesn’t work then the whole thing falls apart. I think she felt that but when I think back of her as a 25-year-old who hadn’t stepped on a movie set before, and she’s so honest that she would talk about when she was nervous, but mostly what a strong sense of confidence she has. And I think her mother, who she was so close to, was responsible for that ‘cause I think she’s someone who grew up feeling very loved and protected.
Is there anything on the extended Blu-ray combo that you’re most excited about or proud of?
BC: Yes. This one song that Keith Robinson who played C.C., Effie’s brother, sings to Effie to try to convince her to let him back into her life and to apologize for what he did to her. It’s called “Effie Sing My Song,” and we cut it from the original version but I always found it very moving and for people to be able to see that in context again I find very exciting.
Looking back on the creative process, are there things you wish you could tweak and do you address this with any commentary in the Blu-ray/DVD?
BC: I have to say that I’m very-very proud of the movie and it was fun to visit it again after 10 years and I still felt really proud of it, but at the same time, yes, I do talk about this one thing which is, I think for people who know and love the original show, all of the dialogue is sung and I decided, and I think correctly, not to make a 2-hour movie where everything is sung and to have that played between singing and speaking and realistic scenes. But there are probably, especially toward the beginning, there’s probably like 3 minutes worth of stuff that I think was more powerful sung than spoken that I probably would’ve gone back and done that way.
What’s the most memorable moment you’ll take away from the Dreamgirls experience?
BC: There’s so many of them. The experience was extraordinary but the experience of putting that movie together and then showing it in New York at the Ziegfeld Theater, when that was still showing movies, with our entire cast there and people from New York from the theater there, people who’d seen the show, people who were in the show and watching that kind of electricity that happened in the theater that night. That’s a memory I’ll never forget.
What are you tackling next — adapting another project for the big screen or are you looking to do original material?
BC: Both and I have both of those coming up but right now I’m preparing to shoot a new version of the Bride of Frankenstein, which I think is going to be a very cool, full-out scary monster movie.