Bill Condon’s 2006 Dreamgirls is what can rightly be described as a film à clef. The story is based on and adapted from the history between the Supremes and Motown record label. Although much was added to the original story, the movie still delivers a beautiful storyline.
The movie received positive reviews from critics and grossed $155.4 million at the box office, with a budget of around $75–80 million. The movie’s storyline centers around a 60’s R&B female group. It follows their rise to fame, split, management exploitation, and redemption.
The movie’s popularity and success have a lot to do with its star-studded cast. Then, the electrifying musical performances make it a delight to watch. Here’s the movie’s cast!
Jennifer Hudson as Effie White
After coming in 7th place in the third season of American Idol, Jennifer Hudson’s entertainment career became a success. Jennifer Hudson plays one of the main protagonists, Effie White. This role would be Hudson’s acting debut.
Besides the movie’s review, Hudson received critical acclaim for her performance as Effie. She would also go on to win Best Supporting Actress with this role at the Academy Awards.
Effie is the girl group leader, The Dreamettes, before Curtis Taylor, Jr. discovers them. After starting an affair with Curtis, she’ll eventually be replaced and kicked out of the group. A significant part of the movie’s plot follows her tragedy and redemption.
Jamie Foxx as Curtis Taylor, Jr.
Jamie Foxx delivered another superb performance playing Curtis Taylor Jr. Curtis discovers the girl group at an amateur R&B show. He would become their manager, converting his Cadillac car dealership into a record label studio, Rainbow Records.
He becomes the love interest of Effie and tries to push the group to success. He would remove Effie as the group’s lead singer because he felt her body size and voice wouldn’t appeal to a white audience. He would replace Effie with Deena and eventually make the group successful.
Consumed by fame and wealth, his action would lead to the death of one of his top singers, Jimmy. However, he loses all in the end when Deena chooses to leave him and reconcile with Eddie and Lorrell.
Beyoncé Knowles as Deena Jones
Beyonce Knowles plays the character of Deena Jones. She is the shiest member of the three-member girl group. When Curtis looks to make the group more appealing to a white audience, he chooses Deena to become the group’s lead singer.
Deena would become Curtis’s love interest and wife after Curtis pushes Effie out of his life and record label. Deena would later realize Curtis’s manipulative ways and leave him to reunite with her former group singers, Effie and Lorrell.
Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell Robinson
Anika Noni Rose gets behind the character of Lorrell Robinson, the third member of the Dreamgirls. She becomes romantically entangled with Jimmy Early, accepting to be his mistress. Although she tolerated much of Curtis’s shenanigans, Curtis’ reaction to the death of Jimmy was an eye-opener.
Eddie Murphy as James (Jimmy) Early
Before the Dreamgirls rose to stardom, Jimmy enjoyed the spotlight. When Jimmy became part of Rainbow Records label, he soon began an illicit affair with Lorrell Robinson. Jimmy soon discovered he had to share the spotlight with the rising, sensational girl group, Dreamgirls.
With Curtis’s unsuccessful attempts to repackage Jimmy, Jimmy soon falls into depression and drug abuse. Jimmy would later die from a heroin overdose, much to Curtis’ indifference.
The legendary Eddie Murphy plays the role of Jimmy “Thunder” Early.
Danny Glover as Marty Madison
Iconic American actor, Danny Glover, plays Marty Madison. Things were going well for Marty before Jimmy decided to work with Curtis. Marty Madison was Jimmy’s manager, confidant, and counsel, and they made good music and money together.
When Jimmy got signed on to Rainbow Records, Curtis tried to change Jimmy’s musical style. Unable to work with a changed Jimmy, Marty walked away from his managerial role. Marty would later become a manager to Effie.
Keith Robinson as Clarence Conrad (C.C.) White
Keith Robinson plays the soft-spoken Clarence Conrad White. C.C. is the younger brother of Effie and would later be signed on as Rainbow Records’ official songwriter. He worked closely with Curtis to ensure the success of the record label.
Even after his older sister, Effie left the record label; he still stayed on to play his role. However, noticing Curtis’ attitude towards the death of Jimmy, he chooses to reunite with his sister and write her comeback hit song.