DreamWorks has set Jamie Foxx and Usher to join Beyonce in “Dreamgirls,” the Bill Condon-directed adaptation of the stage musical.
The studio is circling Eddie Murphy to play singer James “Thunder” Early for the film, which begins production in January in Los Angeles. Laurence Mark is producing.
Foxx will get to test his vocal chops in the role of Curtis Taylor Jr., the Svengali-like manager who leads female singing group the Dreamettes to stardom as the Dreams. Musical was the thinly veiled story of the Supremes, and the model for Taylor was Berry Gordy.
Usher will play choreographer C.C. White. Murphy is being courted to play a character that’s one part James Brown, one part Marvin Gaye — a charismatic womanizer and R&B star who gives the Dreamettes their first big break when he invites them to sing backup for him.Still to be cast are the remaining member of the Dreams. The filmmakers will be conducting a nationwide search for Effie, the chubby girl with an outsized voice. They will likely choose an unknown actress, who’ll get the chance to belt out the most memorable songs in the musical.
Condon, who wrote the script for “Chicago,” adapted “Dreamgirls.” Patricia Witcher is exec producing the pic.
DreamWorks’ Adam Goodman and David Beaubaire are spearheading the project for David Geffen, who runs DreamWorks’ live-action division, produced the original 1981 stage musical and has carried the torch for the film version for more than a decade.