About a dozen assistants, publicists, and handlers are gathered in the lounge of L.A.'s Dresden Restaurant for a photo shoot to promote Ray, the Ray Charles biopic in which Jamie Foxx portrays the legendary musician. The star, clad in a perfectly tailored black Zegna suit and plucking notes at a vintage piano, screws his eyes shut and draws a deep breath as he delivers these heartfelt lyrics:
''I love you better when I'm high/I love you better when I'm messed up/I love you better when I'm on quaaludes/I love you better when I'm high.''
Loud giggles burst out from a gaggle of onlookers. But when the photographer requests a more serious expression, Foxx seamlessly channels his cinematic alter ego, all jerky mannerisms and concentrated frowns as he quietly sings a few bars of the Charles classic ''Georgia on My Mind.'' The observers take in the transformation in awed silence, letting the perfectly re-created classic wash over them.
''Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through/Just an old sweet song/Keeps Georgia on my mind.''