You can put those rumors of a feud on the set of Dreamgirls to rest. Beyoncé Knowles says that she and her costar Jennifer Hudson, of American Idol fame, didn’t have bad blood while filming the movie.
“I knew that the character that I played wasn’t the star,” Knowles, 25, told reporters on Saturday about knowing full well that her Diana Ross-esque role of Deena Jones was less meaty than Hudson’s part as Effie White – a part that is already getting Hudson Oscar buzz. “She wasn’t the underdog. She didn’t have the struggle and the pain and the dramatic scenes that Effie had, and I was fine with that.”
Taking the role was about proving herself as an actress. “I’m already a star. I already have nine Grammys. Everyone knows I can sing,” Knowles said. “I did this because I wanted people to know that I can act and I can play someone so different from myself.”
So, what about the rumors of jealousy towards Hudson? “It’s really unfortunate that everyone is saying I’m jealous of Jennifer. It hurts my heart because it’s so clichéd. They’re saying that I’m mad when I knew going into this that I was playing Deena,” said Knowles. “Because I’m a star they just automatically assume that I’m not humble enough to sit down and take a back seat, which I am.”
But the R&B star did admit that she would have liked to have sung Effie’s song, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” a showstopper that, in large part, helped get Jennifer Holliday a Tony Award for best actress for the original 1981 Broadway version of Dreamgirls.
“I mean,” said Knowles, “I wish I could’ve gained 20 pounds and played Effie.”
Asked if she’d really have packed on the weight for the part, Knowles said, “Yes. I absolutely would have, but Bill (Condon, the movie’s writer-director) didn’t even believe that I could be Deena. So imagine if I would’ve said, ‘Bill, I want to be Effie.’ ”
And Knowles has high praise for Hudson’s portrayal of Effie. “Jennifer Hudson had such a pressure, first of all, never being in a film and never have done an album and still having to live up to those expectations,” said Knowles. “She did incredible.”