John Lithgow to Show His Nasty Side in "Dreamgirls" Film

News   John Lithgow to Show His Nasty Side in "Dreamgirls" Film Tony Award winner John Lithgow, most recently on Broadway in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, will be seen in the upcoming film of the award-winning musical Dreamgirls.
John Lithgow
John Lithgow Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Lithgow told the Daily News that he plays a character written especially for the film musical. As a 1970's Hollywood producer, Lithgow meets Deena Jones (Beyonce) when she decides to pursue a career in the movies. "He eats her alive," Lithgow told the New York daily. "He is not a nice man . . . Wait until you see my hair. It's very 1974."

About his co-star, Lithgow said Beyonce is "magnificent in this film — enchanting. It's a gigantic challenge, a huge role. But I now can't imagine anyone else doing it."

Lithgow, says the News, may also soon be back on the small screen in an NBC series entitled "Twenty Good Years." "[It is] a show that entirely depends on two great actors. So far we only have one," Lithgow said with a laugh.

John Lithgow was most recently on Broadway as con man Lawrence Jameson Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. His other recent theatrical credits include A.R. Gurney's political comedy Mrs. Farnsworth and The Retreat From Moscow. Lithgow won Tony Awards for his work in The Changing Room and Sweet Smell of Success and received Tony nominations for Scoundrels, Requiem for a Heavyweight and M. Butterfly.

“Dreamgirls” is set to hit movie theatres across the country on Dec. 22. The film will be distributed domestically by DreamWorks and internationally by Paramount. "Dreamgirls" stars Jennifer Hudson as Effie, Beyoncé Knowles as Deena Jones, Anika Noni Rose as Lorrell Robinson, Jamie Fox as Curtis Taylor Jr., Eddie Murphy as James "Thunder Early" and Danny Glover as Marty. Director Condon also wrote the film's screenplay based on the late Tom Eyen's book. The film employs the original score by Eyen and Henry Krieger.

“Dreamgirls,” according to the film's official website, “follows the rise of a trio of women — Deena (Beyoncé Knowles), Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) — who have formed a promising girl group called The Dreamettes. At a talent competition, they are discovered by an ambitious manager named Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx), who offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the back-up singers for headliner James “Thunder” Early (Eddie Murphy). Curtis gradually takes control of the girls' look and sound, eventually giving them their own shot in the spotlight as The Dreams. The spotlight, however, begins to narrow in on Deena, finally pushing back the less attractive Effie out altogether. Though the Dreams become a crossover phenomenon, they soon realize that the cost of fame and fortune may be higher than they ever imagined.”

The musical Dreamgirls, which concerns the rise of a Supremes-like singing group amid a flurry of infighting, debuted at Broadway's Imperial Theatre on Dec. 9, 1982, playing 1,521 performances before closing Aug. 11, 1985. The original cast featured Obba Babatundé, Cleavant Derricks, Loretta Devine, Ben Harney, Jennifer Holliday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Deborah Burrell. The show lost the Tony for Best Musical to Maury Yeston's Nine. A 1987 revival at the Ambassador Theatre starred Lillias White, Alisa Gyse, Kevyn Morrow, Weyman Thompson and Arnetia Walker.

Dreamgirls song titles include "One Night Only," "I Am Changing," "When I First Saw You," "Family" and Effie's first-act show stopper, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."

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