Dreamgirls Movie Poster

Trivia for Dreamgirls

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  • Shipped to theaters under the code name "Drama".
  • (Cameo) Debra Zane: Upset White Woman in Miami Beach club.
  • Screenwriter and Director Bill Condon instructed Jennifer Hudson to show up late on the set every day, to better understand Effie's diva behavior.
  • Effie walks in with an album on "Rainbow Records," Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Great March To Freedom," recorded in Detroit, June 23, 1963. This is one of the few real record covers in the movie. It was released as Gordy 906, a Motown label.
  • (Cameo) Durrell 'Tank' Babbs: One of the chorus singers for the "Patience" recording session.
  • Bill Condon attended the opening night performance of the original Broadway production at the Imperial Theatre, New York City, on December 20, 1981.
  • Bill Condon scheduled "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" as the last scene, to give Jennifer Hudson the most time possible to grow into her character.
  • Jamie Foxx initially declined to play Curtis Taylor, Jr. because the salary offered was insufficient. Denzel Washington was offered the part after Foxx, but declined because he can't sing. Once Beyoncé and Eddie Murphy were attached to the production, Foxx rethought his decision and accepted the role.
  • Effie is supposed to be older than Michelle. In real life, Sharon Leal is nine years older than Jennifer Hudson.
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph was nominated for the 1982 Tony Award (New York City) for Actress in a Musical for "Dreamgirls".
  • Loretta Devine, who plays the jazz singer in the wake scene, created the role of Lorrell Robinson in the original Broadway production in 1981. Hinton Battle, who plays Curtis' aide Wayne, was also a replacement for the role of James "Thunder" Early in the original production.
  • (Cameo) Fatima Robinson: One of the Stepp Sisters.
  • Jennifer Hudson gained 20 pounds to play the role of Effie White.
  • The film was Eddie Murphy's first for Paramount since Vampire in Brooklyn (1995). Murphy formerly had a contract with the studio.
  • Usher Raymond was the first choice for the role of C.C. White, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. Omarion was also briefly considered.
  • Cleavant Derricks won the 1982 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Musical for "Dreamgirls" for his role as soul singer James "Thunder" Early.
  • During a break in filming, Beyoncé lost weight to make herself look younger for Deena's teen and early years.
  • Beyoncé auditioned in full costume, and performed with choreography. She has said she considers this her first film as an actress.
  • (Cameo) Shutchai Tym Buacharern: Drag queen with a fan during "One Night Only (Disco)" sequence.
  • The jokes that Bobby Slayton tells in the Miami night club were taken verbatim from Don Rickles's 1968 album "Hello, Dummy!"
  • Anika Noni Rose had to wear six-inch heels while filming the title musical number, to appear in frame with Beyoncé and Jennifer Hudson. Rose is 5'2", Knowles is 5'7", and Hudson is 5'9".
  • Jennifer Hudson beat out 782 other actresses for the role of Effie White, including her former American Idol (2002) rival, Fantasia Barrino.
  • After the success of the stage production, the film version went through several revisions. In the late 1980s, Whitney Houston was considered for the role of Deena. Negotiations fell through when Houston insisted that Deena sing some of Effie's songs, specifically, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going". In the early 1990s, after the success of What's Love Got to Do with It (1993), Joel Schumacher was set to direct, with Lauryn Hill as Deena and Kelly Price as Effie. The project was shelved again, after several musical biopics failed at the box-office. After the success of Chicago (2002), the producers approached Bill Condon, who had long considered an adaptation his dream project.
  • When The Dreams stand in front of a huge replica of their first album, "Meet The Dreams," the cover art is an almost identical replica of The Supremes 1965 album "More Hits by the Supremes." The photos of The Dreams on that cover are nearly identical poses from The Supremes 1966 album "The Supremes A Go-Go."
  • The original Broadway production of opened at the Imperial Theater on December 20, 1981, ran for 1,521 performances, and was nominated for the 1982 Tony Awards for Best Musical and Score, and won for the Best Book of a Musical.
  • Obba Babatundé was nominated for the 1982 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Musical for "Dreamgirls" for his portrayal of C.C. White.
  • When Curtis tells the girls that they're going to be their own act, he says that he's gotten Jolly Jenkins to do their choreography. It's a reference to the famous tap dancer Cholly Atkins, who did most of The Supremes's choreography.
  • Will Smith and Terrence Howard were considered for the role of Curtis Taylor, Jr.
  • During the Christmas party, Teddy Campbell is listening outside the room where Deena, Curtis, Michelle, C.C., Jimmy, and Lorrell are listening to the recording of "Patience." Curtis's Aunt Ethel tells Teddy to get back to the party, and Teddy answers, "I'm waiting for Deena." It's a reference to the close friendship between Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
  • This is the only film to ever lead in the number of nominations in a particular year (in this case eight) at the Academy Awards, but receive no Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
  • The character "Effie" was originally created for Nell Carter in 1978, when the original stage show was in its experimental stages as "Project Number 9." Audio tapes of Carter rehearsing numbers such as "One Night Only" still exist in bootleg form and are constantly recirculated.
  • (Cameo) Jaleel White: The manager of the talent show at the Detroit Theater in the opening scene.
  • Curtis forces the Dreams to record "Heavy" as a riot rages outside in the streets of Detroit. In real life, Motown's studios remained semi-operational during the 1967 Detroit riots.
  • Spike Lee considered directing the film in the early 1990s, with Jasmine Guy as Deena Jones.
  • This is the first film to be nominated for the most Oscars in a given year without getting a Best Picture nomination.
  • The film was originally planned to be a Warner Brothers release. In the early 2000s, DreamWorks was brought on-board as the U.S. distributor, with Warner Brothers initially retaining international rights. When the budget was revealed, Warner balked, and left the film, to be replaced by Paramount Pictures. During pre-production, Viacom, parent of Paramount, purchased DreamWorks, making the film wholly owned by Paramount, before it was released.
  • When James "Thunder" Early asks his band mates "Who was the first singer to start wearing shiny clothes?", one responds "Little Richard." The responder was Jimmy's piano player, who came on-stage to sit in for Jimmy when he first taught the Dreamettes the parts for "Fake your way to the top."
  • The film, and the original Broadway musical, are based heavily on The Supremes (later known as "Diana Ross & The Supremes"). Curtis Taylor, Jr. represents Motown Founder Berry Gordy. Both men worked in the automotive industry before focusing on music, and integrated aspects of the automotive business into the music making process. Both were romantically involved with the lead singer of their label's most successful female group. Effie's departure from the group closely matches Florence Ballard, whose voice was much more powerful than Ross's.
  • Film debut of Jennifer Hudson.
  • Obba Babatundé, who portrayed C.C. White in the original stage version, turned down an offer to audition for the role of Marty Madison because he disapproved of the changes the film adaptation made to the original musical.
  • Columbus Short tested for the role of C.C White.
  • Three of the five Best Original Song nominations of 2006 were from this film. The other two were from An Inconvenient Truth (2006) and Cars (2006).
  • The film features the only Oscar nominated performances (as of 2018) of Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson.
  • This was the only 2006 film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America Awards, but not The Academy Awards.
  • According to her autobiography "So Close to Being the Shit, Ya'll Don't Even Know", Retta was called in to audition for the role of Effie.


  • In the stage version, James "Thunder" Early is never seen or heard from again after his breakdown during "I Meant You No Harm/The Rap." In the film, he dies of a heroin overdose.
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