The first one had Whitney Houston playing Deena. This version ran into a stumbling block when Whitney wanted to sing both Deena and Effie’s songs (“I Am Changing” and “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”, etc.).
Whitney recorded a medley of Dreamgirls songs on a live concert CD.
Interest was renewed when, in the summer of 1998, it was announced that it would be Joel Shumacher’s next directing project and would go into production soon after. Actors Don Cheadle and Andre Braugher were approached (probably for Curtis and Jimmy respectively). Pop singer Lauryn Hill was in talks to play Deena while Kelly Price was considered for Effie. Then, with the financial failure of Why Do Fools Fall In Love, another music industry saga released by Warner Brothers in October, 1998, it was felt by the powers-that-be that Dreamgirls was not a bankable property. The official announcement was that the film version had been shelved indefinitely.
Rumors persisted, however. Lauryn Hill (who was a fan of the show) was reportedly campaigning to get the movie made.
THE REAL DEAL
Filming finally began on a film version of Dreamgirls in January 2006. Bill Condon (who wrote the screenplay for Chicago) directed his screenplay of the show. Beyonce Knowles played Deena, Jamie Foxx played Curtis, Eddie Murphy played Jimmy, Anika Noni Rose played Lorell and Jennifer Hudson played Effie.