Gary Susman
May 12, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

After his Oscar-winning turn as Ray Charles, Jamie Foxx will play another key figure in R&B music history: Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Okay, he’s not actually playing Gordy, but rather, Curtis Taylor Jr., the fictionalized Gordy who orchestrates the rise of a Supremes-like trio in Dreamgirls, Variety reports. Also climbing aboard the Broadway-to-big-screen musical is Usher, who’ll play C.C. White, the group’s choreographer. They join the cast a month after DreamWorks signed real-life girl-group frontwoman Beyoncé to star in the adaptation. The studio plans to shoot the film in January (pushed back from this fall) in Los Angeles.

In talks for a rare dramatic supporting role is Eddie Murphy. He’s the studio’s choice to play James ”Thunder” Early, a James Brown/Marvin Gaye-type entertainer who gives the trio their first big break as backup singers. Apparently, Beyoncé is playing Deena, the Diana Ross-like lead, because the filmmakers (led by writer-director Bill Condon, who earned an Oscar nomination for his Chicago screenplay) are planning a nationwide search for an unknown to play the splashier role of Effie, the plus-sized singer who gets to belt ”And I Am Telling You I Am Not Going.” Our recommendation: American Idol Season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson.

You May Like