|Before I tell you all about my amazing trip to L.A. that was filled twists and turns I just want to thank Jack for inviting me out there. He really pulled out the stops for my sister and I. We had a great time and really got an exclusive look at the movie. It was finally nice to meet Accuracy1, I definitely had a different picture in my head of what you would be like. I also had a great time with Megan and Stephanie. They stood on the corner while I freaked out over the billboard of the new DREAMGIRLS one sheet. I took a few pictures but I can’t post those yet. It is beautiful, classic, sexy, and a surprise because it’s not what I pictured. However, it was a good surprise.|
I arrived in L.A. late on Thursday night. I stayed at a hotel next to the airport. I won’t say the name of the hotel because what I experienced was disgusting and I don’t want to embarrass their asses. These fools has bed bugs. The hotel is not a shit hole hotel, it’s a moderate hotel so I was not expecting to see that. They got a piece of my mind we were immediately upgraded and the manager was basically kissing out feet for the weekend. So since they made up for it I won’t mention their name. Anyway, I was just excited to be there so I went to bed to get a good night’s rest.
My first day in L.A. I had a lunch date set up with Megan and Stephanie who both work in the Motion Picture Interactive Marketing department at Paramount Pictures. My sister and I made our way over to Paramount Pictures to meet up with the ladies for lunch at a near by Mexican reataurant. When we pulled up to the Paramount gates it was a little surreal because you always see it in the pictures or on T.V but to actually be going inside the lot is a different story. Here's a grainy picture I took from inside the lot. What is that thing? I forgot to ask. :)
Anyway, we get inside the offices of Paramount and the first thing I see when I walk in the door is a 3-D Board for DREAMGIRLS. I think it will be in theatres across the country. It has not yet been made public so I can't post the pictures I have. I took a number of pictures so once it's made public (which will be soon) I will definitely post those. Anyway, my sister and I meet up with Megan and Stephanie and we all head to the Mexican restaurant down the street from the studio. As we are walking I get another surprise. It's the DREAMGIRLS one sheet which will be in theatres. The only word to describe it is electric. It's defintely not what I expected. Once again I took pictures but the one sheet will also be unvailed soon. :)
We had a great lunch, the talk ranged from DREAMGIRLS to our favorite reality shows. Megan and Stephanie were both fun to hang out with.
Later on that night we had plans to meet up with Jack for dinner but just to kill some time we decided to explore Hollywood. We headed towards the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Chinese Madarin Theatre. That strip is very interesting to say the least. For people who have been there you know what I mean but for those who haven't it's quite a sight. Here's an example.
I also spotted Eddie Murphy's signature at the Chinese Madarin Theatre.
Later on that night we met up with Jack and had dinner. The conversation was all about DREAMGIRLS of course. My advice to all you die hard fans is to start saving your money now. LOL. They are doing it big when it comes to not only promotion but also collectible items. The promotion is going to be top notch, as you may have noticed. October 16th is going to a big day for all DREAMGIRLS fans because the trailer will be released. Like Accuracy1 said on imdb.com it definitely won't be hard to miss. Trust me, be present on the 16th.
Finally, the day I was waiting for arrived. On Saturday the plan was to meet up with Jack at his house and watch the DREAMGIRLS footage that was shown at Cannes. Then we would head over to the set to meet a few people and watch some filming. We made our way to Jack's home in the hills late in the afternoon. Here's a shot of the view from the Hollywood Hills that we took on a tour. Look at all of the smog. Anyway, we arrived at Jack's beautiful home. He gave us a tour and we got to see some DREAMGIRLS posters and concepts for artwork that will never be used. We also saw some of the final posters that they have waiting to be released. It was exciting, that's the only way to describe it. The artwork is amazing but you all know that by now since we've seen so many pictures. But believe me you ain't seen nothing yet, the temperature is about to go up on the artwork for the movie.
So after getting a tour and some free swag (thanks Jack!) we sat down to watch the Cannes footage. Now I know what all the rave was about back in May when the Cannes fooatge was shown. what I saw was simply amazing. Eddie Murphy is just so fresh and alive in this movie. He just owns the scenes that I saw him in. His swagger is defintely back! I got to watch two scenes that featured Eddie. The first scene is when Curtis is trying to get James to take on the three girls. The other scene was "Fake Your way to the Top." It was incredible. Eddie did the damn thang in that number. It was over the top but not in a cheesy way and it was humorous. Just the way it should be. His singing is great and he definitely got that James Brown in him. Help Me Jesus!
One of the other interesting parts of watching the footage was seeing for myself if Beyonce was really holding it down when it came to the acting. It's been a major discussion topic on many messageboards. From the scenes I saw of Beyonce she is wonderful. She has come a long way from Carmen the Hip Hopera. She is present, I didn't feel like she was reading her lines. From what I saw she did an amazing job and I hope that people will not dismiss her perfomance because of bias. She truly has grown as an actor and anyone who says otherwise is plain crazy.
Anika Noni Rose just lights up the damn screen. I laughed at all her lines. The character Lorell has some of the best lines and Anika delivered them perfectly. My sister and I were laughing so hard especially when she would flash that big smile and do that goofy laugh. She definitely is a scene stealer.
Jennifer Hudson. What can I say. She is off the chain (in person as well) and her voice is incredible. I got to watch the opening talent show when The Dreamettes sing "Move" and it was so much fun to watch. The Stepp Sisters are something else, they were working that stage. The openeing credits are amazing. It sticks closely to the original beginning but I think it's even more exhilirating. You hear those cowbells and you suddenly feel like you need to hold on to something because you know it's about to go down.
The Family scene is so touching and Keith Robinson does a great job in this scene playing C.C. White. His voice is beautiful and I had a little tear in my eye towards the end of that scene. I also watched the "When I first Saw You" scence and Jamie's voice and acting was also great. Beyonce is gorgeous in those photoshoot scenes. She captures Diana and it's so eerie to watch. The One Night Only montage was another piece of footage that I watched that was viewed at Cannes. It was thrilling, I was tapping my toes and singing along. My sister who didn't really know much about DREAMGIRLS fell in love with it instantly and wanted to watch the whole movie right then and there. That was not possible so we settled for watching the footage again. LOL. We were humming those tunes all night.
Anyway, after watching the footage a second time we decided to head to Paramount. On The Set We arrived at Paramount Pictures and headed to the one of the many sound stages on the lot. The first person I met on the way to the stage was Sharen Davis who designed the costumes for the movie. She was Oscar nominated for the movie Ray. I also met Patricia Wither who is one of the producers of the film. She was also one of the producers for Memoirs of A Geisha. After meeting a few more people we went to another sound stage to watch the fiming of a scene where The Dreams see on TV that their song "Cadiallac Car" is being sung by Dave and the Sweethearts and all white group. It was very surreal to be standing behind the director Bill Condon and watching him do what he does best. They did so many takes. Trust me filming a movie is not glamorous. It was tedious at times and you just wait and wait and wait some more in between takes. They go into the wee hours of the morning and most of the time your're standing. The crew works very hard and definitely deserve all the praise.
After a a number of takes the scene wrapped and then it happened. First Beyonce came out, looking beautiful as usual. She looked my way as whe was walking by and gave me warm smile. I told her I loved her new cd and she repelied thanks and gave that smile she slways gives and she went about her business. But that wouldn't be my last time seeing her. Then Anika came out, the pictures of her on the internet do no justice. She is beautiful and very sweet. She was so cordial, gave us a nice hand shake and said bye when she left later that night. Fianlly, Jennifer came out and Jack introduced us. She said Hi with a genuine smile and told me she loved my dress. She was looking beautiful as well. We also got to meet Shutchai Tym Buacharern who is the makeup department head for DREAMGIRLS. He was very funny and told some good stories. He also does make up for Janet Jackson.
I can't believe I got to see The Dreams all together, and even more I got see all three ladies acting out a scene for the movie. I thought I was dreaming but it was all real. After taking that all in we headed back to the original sound stage and watched as they set up for a scene featuring Beyonce. Jennifer and Anika had wrapped so Beyonce was the only one left. We waited around for about an hour. And while we were doing that I got to meet Bill Condon, the director of the movie. I told him how excited everyone was and how great the Cannes fooatge was that I had seen earlier that day at his house. He was so busy but he chatted with us for a few minutes and than got back to work. I finally got to meet Accuracy1 who is so sweet. I met so many people that I know I'm leaving people out. Anyway, there were different sets around the sound stage. Curtis's Cadillac was on set, the room where Curtis did his "business" deals as well as the lobby of the of The Crystal Room. The office at the Cadiallac car dealership was also on the stage.
After the hour wait Beyonce came on set to film her scene and she was dressed in a black and white patterned jumpsuit. The scene was being filmed in Curtis's office at their mansion. The set up is that she comes across Effie's "One Night Only" single and realizes that the song she had just made a hit was stolen form Effie. To watch Beyonce act out the scene liteally a few feet in front of me was awesome. She did a great job conveying the emotion she needed to convey. I could see it on the playback screen as well as live. Beyonce's mother and cousin were sitting right where we were standing. That was another moment where I had to remember where I was. Anyway, there were no spoken lines in this scene so it was all facial expressions and she nailed it, numerous times. After more takes, everyone took a break for some Thai food and we decided that it was time to head on out. We stayed on set very late and they were going to go until 2am. Since I had a early flight we decided to just head back to the hotel even though we could have stayed all night. We grabbed some food and said our goodbyes and thank yous. It was an amzing visit and I never thought I would be on the set of DREAMGIRLS and get to meet The Dreams. It truly was my dream weekend. The only way to top this is if I get to go to the premiere. (wink, wink)
Obviously, a lot happened this weekend. So much that I could probably write much more but I'm very tired. I know people have questions so ask away. Go to Dreamgirls imdb.com board and join our discussion or you can leave me questions here and I'll answer if I can.