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Dreamgirls: Showstopper Edition

Directed by Bill Condon

> > Jul 2007

Dreamgirls: Showstopper Edition - Directed by Bill Condon
By Vish KhannaLoosely based on the rise and fall of the Supremes, Dreamgirls is a timeless tale about the price of success but its plot twists and characters are utterly unique. An African-American all-girl trio of singers are plucked from obscurity by a wannabe music impresario determined to bring black soul and R&B to a mainstream, pop-loving, white audience. Startling performances by an all-star cast enable Dreamgirls to mix themes of greed, righteousness, race, love and desperation like no film before, let alone a musical. The substantive story is bolstered by music, costumes and sets that spring to life on screen. With great foresight, the creative minds ensured that virtually every aspect of its production was filmed for Building the Dream, an insightfully comprehensive feature-length documentary. Director Bill Condon (Chicago) is the central storyteller, discussing his love for the original Broadway musical after attending its opening night in 1981. Writing the screenplay enabled Condon to visualise the entire film and he became heavily involved in every decision on set, behind the camera and in the recording studio. Condon’s first cast picks, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy, signed on somewhat painlessly, while Beyoncé Knowles felt like an underdog, preparing an unusual screen test (complete with a make-up artist and wardrobe changes) and charming Condon with a clever amalgam of Diana Ross and Marilyn Monroe to play "Deena Jones.” Of course, the story of Jennifer Hudson’s rise — from American Idol reject to Oscar winner — is incredible already but it’s rendered that much more improbably here. Anecdotes about the songwriting, choreography and wardrobe choices are interesting and elicit great stories. All of this brought Dreamgirls to critics’ best-of lists and adoring audiences, and the nuances of this process are captured wonderfully.
(Dreamworks)
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