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    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    I Keep Working for You Baby, I Keep Workin'!

    The man who is adapting and directing Dreamgirls is none other than Bill Condon who wrote the screenplay for Chicago. Chicago was one of my favorite musicals since The Wiz ( Yes I know it was bad but let's not go there, it had Michael Jackson and Diana Ross in it). I wonder how he has written this screenplay. Will he add more dialogue or will he let the characters sing a lot of the dialogue like they did in the play? Is he adding new characters? So many questions, so little time. For now here's a picture and quick bio on the man who is reviving this masterpeice.

    Native New Yorker Bill Condon has been a film buff since childhood. After earning a degree in philosophy, he began contributing to such publications as American Film and Millimeter. In the early 1980s, he teamed with director Michael Laughlin as co-scenarist on a pair of cult thrillers, "Dead Kids/Strange Behavior" (1981), which focused on the mysterious murders of teenagers in a Midwestern town, and "Strange Invaders" (1983), a spoof of 50s sci-fi films that received generally positive notices. Moving to the director's chair, Condon steered the atmospheric, "Sister, Sister" (1987), a Southern gothic tale about two siblings who have converted their family's Louisiana plantation into a bed-and-breakfast. While many critics carped over the story (deemed too derivative of Hitchcock's work), there was grudging admiration for the lead performances of Judith Ivey and Jennifer Jason Leigh. '

    As "Sister, Sister" was a critical and box-office disappointment, Condon retreated to cable TV, helming a trio of 1991 films for the USA Network. In interviews, the writer-director has stated "that's where I learned to make movies. You have to do them in 20 day, you have $2 1/2 million, including the money they spend on 'stars', so you don't have much money to make them. Other than that, they leave you alone. I worked in all these different genres and put together a team. I got to learn how to do it all." Indeed, "Murder 101" focused on a mystery author and college professor (Pierce Brosnan) who finds himself framed for a murder. "White Lie" was a provocative story about a contemporary political aide (Gregory Hines) who returns to the South and looks into the 1961 lynching of his father. "Dead in the Water" was a taut thriller featuring a murder plan than goes awry. Moving to network television, Condon helmed the based-on-fact "Deadly Relations" (ABC, 1993), about an abusive and controlling father, as well as the unsold pilot "The Man Who Wouldn't Die" (ABC, 1995) which teamed a crime writer (Roger Moore) with a psychic waitress (Nancy Allen) in the search for a master criminal (Malcolm McDowell).

    Having served his apprenticeship, Condon returned to feature films first as one of the screenwriters on "FX2 - The Art of the Deadly Flesh" (1991) and later as director of the middling sequel "Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh" (1995). His previous work hardly prepared audiences and reviewers for what proved to be a triumph, "Gods and Monsters" (1998). In adapting "Father of Frankenstein" Christopher Bram's 1995 novel about the last days of British expatriate filmmaker James Whale, Condon fashioned a minor masterpiece, melding a gay theme with historical Hollywood and eliciting a towering central performance from Ian McKellen as the ailing director. Deliberately invoking Whale's style and making numerous inside references to the moviemaker's work, Condon brought wit and style to the material. This complicated, emotional story of, in the writer-director's words, "somebody in his decline, facing the loss of power ... and coming face to face with certain regrets and failures in his life" ranked as one of the year's best films and earned Condon a well-deserved Academy Award for his script.

    Condon was also nominated for the same award for the Oscar-winning adaptation of the musical Chicago. He received further accolades in 2004 for writing and directing the film Kinsey, chronicling the life of the controversial sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. In 2005, it was announced that Condon would write the screenplay for, and direct the film adaptation of Dreamgirls, the acclaimed Broadway musical loosely based on the career of the musical group The Supremes with Motown Records. It will be his second adaptation of a musical.

    Source: www.hollywood.com

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