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INT: Beyonce Knowles

Dec. 19, 2006by: Jenny Karakaya

To describe Beyonce Knowles as beautiful would be an understatement! She is absolutely breathtaking, stunning and captivating. Beyonce is an international, award winning, multi talented superstar who is blessed with surreal beauty. Beyonce transforms from bootilicous to dreamalicious in the upcoming smashing Broadway production turned motion picture DREAMGIRLS.

Contrary to being the powerful and boisterous woman she is otherwise known as, Beyonce takes on the challenging role of Deena, a submissive, decorous and soft spoken back up singer, driven yet lurking in the shadows of big voiced Effie. The girls’ new agent Curtis, who launches the trio as the new overnight sensation singing group, The Dreams, pulls her into the spotlight as the lead singer. She displays a remarkable evolution into stardom marking the beginning of a music revolution, thus breaking racial barriers in mainstream America . Although their dreams materialize beyond their wildest imaginations, their success and sacrifice come with a pretty heavy price tag.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Beyonce last week when she sat down to discuss the challenges of stepping out of her real life glamorous persona, minimizing her beauty and partaking in the transcending musical film, DREAMGIRLS. Check out what she had to say.

Beyonce Knowles

Is it inevitable for bands to have friction?

It's like a marriage really. You know you can meet someone, and it's love at first sight and you think it's great and then eventually you grow and grow apart and it doesn't last. There's no way of knowing but there are certain people that are meant to be together and when that happens you don't have to try to love each other. You just do and sometimes it takes people to grow up and go through different things, to know themselves, to love themselves in order to have healthy relationships.

This is a really tricky part for you. Larry Mark said that you were popping too much. Critics who are saying that you’re not THAT good but you’re really not supposed to be THAT good have already misunderstood you. Talk about taking that risk.

I knew it. I knew the risk before I took it. I mean I read the script and the movie is like the script. I knew that Deena was not the underdog, I knew that she didn't sing "And I'm Telling You...” I knew that you know, all of our parts are very important. It's an ensemble cast but I knew that she wasn't the lead. It's not about her life and I didn't care about that because I don't have to prove that I can sing, I have 9 Grammy awards and I don't have to prove that I'm a star because I already am so I wanted to prove that I can act. And I thought this part was incredible because out of every character it has the biggest range and it's the least like me.

I mean, I'm way more powerful and bigger than the character and way stronger, and in control so it was a challenge for me and exciting for me to show myself in a different light. My biggest concern was people getting Deena confused with me because from the outside looking in you see that you know, I started out in a group, became a solo artist and my drive and Deena's drive are very similar but it really stops there. Deena started out growing up in the projects with her mother. Back then it was harder to be a singer and actor in America than it is now. Because she didn't have a father she allowed Curtis to control her because she was searching for that father figure and she completely lost herself and was a puppet and she was ok with that because she didn't want go back to the projects.

As opposed to me, who grew up with both of my parents, went to private school. I'm my own Curtis; I'm in control of my everything. I write my own songs and the whole nine and the lead singer because of my talent. And now all the top artists are trying to be like the R & B artists. Now, the more soulful you are the better as opposed to the more controlled you are, so it's a different time. So my personal need of success, you know when we lost on star search when I was nine; I went back to my house with my family. When Deena lost, Deena went back to the projects.

So her desire and her passion for success was different so I didn't play this part like me. I'm nowhere on the screen which is why I wanted to lose 20 pounds because I wanted to lose every trace of what I'm known for and why I sat and worked so hard with an acting coach, why when I did the songs, I didn't treat them like performances. The singing was a piece of cake; learn the choreography, piece of cake. The hard thing was, because I didn't have my voice to depend on instead I had to do something else. I had to go through and make sure Deena had pain behind her eyes and even though she had the lashes and the glamour, there was something deeper there.

So we went through all of the performances and treated them like dialogue and I filled up my mind with all of these painful things to keep her interesting. And I didn't have a lot lines and that's fine but I had to say a lot without saying anything, which was really hard. For instance when Effie finds out she's not going to be the lead singer, I say maybe four words but I have to show without saying anything, that I'm completely sad for my friend who I love, a little bit happy and excited 'cause I want to be a star and confused and angry 'cause no one knew. I had to do all of these things all in an expression so because everything I did was very small; it was a lot of work.

Larry Mark mentioned that he had the impossible task of toning down your looks. Was it fun trying to look less amazing?

It was very, very fun. It was I mean, I didn't even think about it. It was part of the character. It was fun 'cause I did the screen test and they came to my rehearsal and he saw me performing and I don't perform anything like Deena, I don't sing anything like her. He was like, ok I don't know about this one, I don't know if she can play Deena, I don't know if people can take that image away and see you as young Deena. So I went and found the ugliest wig and ugliest dress I could find. That was really fun.

Was it enjoyable to just not worry about getting dressed up?

Yeah I mean I do it all the time. When it's appropriate I dress up and when it's not inappropriate I don't.

I hear Diana Ross is a fan of yours?

Well I met her and she was very, very nice which made me feel great because I want her to like me because I like her so much. But I also like this movie and it's about her but the things that happened with Effie and Deena I don't think that ever happened to her and I think she's stronger than Deena.

Can you draw any similarities between the group Dreamgirls which you play part of on screen and Destiny's Child?

No because the dynamics of our group are different. The history they have, the pain that they have is way more dramatic. We vacation together, we spend birthdays together, we really love each other and this is so different from that group.

Are you a big Supremes fan?

Oh yeah. I love the Supremes. I mean we grew up watching videotapes of the Jackson Five, the Temptations, and the Supremes and now I don't have to go back and watch all of that stuff all over again which was fascinating.

Do you have a favorite song?

My favorite Diana Ross song is Love Hangover and my favorite Supremes song is Love Child.

What was it like working with Jennifer Hudson?

When I told people I was doing this movie, they were like, "oh wow that's incredible, but who's playing Effie"? And if she had to sing And I'm Telling You. She had so much pressure, never ever doing an album, never doing a movie before in her life and having to live up to the standing ovation that Jennifer Holliday got every single night. She has to live up to that song and the part where she sings "and you, and you". I could not imagine that. It's incredible that she did what she did and she was amazing.

It's my favorite part in the movie. It gives me chills. I'm proud of her, she deserves it, she was very sweet and she is blessed. And I can only pray that she will maintain that same sweet innocent young woman that she is. She felt like a little sister to me 'cause I mean I had my first single when I was 15. I've been doing it for 10 years, I've seen a lot of talented people and I'm just so happy for her and I think she's going to have an incredible career.

What do you find more enjoyable, music or acting?

Both. Because I did this movie, I felt so caged, because for so long I was holding back so much that I was overly expressive on my album. I mean I'm belting out notes, singing everything really high, grunting and screaming literally and everything is so strong and so much attitude because Deena was so weak. So I'm able to use my music to kind of.... I felt like someone that had been left out of the cage. So it's like therapy for me and they inspire each other.

Source: JoBlo.com

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