‘Dreamgirls’ Was Not Beyoncé’s First Movie
While her most highly acclaimed role was in Dreamgirls, you might be surprised to learn that it wasn’t the first time Queen Bey showed off her acting chops.
‘The Fighting Temptations’
In 2003, Beyoncé co-starred with Cuba Gooding Jr. in the romantic comedy The Fighting Temptations. In the movie, Gooding Jr.’s character returns to his southern hometown to collect an inheritance from his great aunt.
But to receive the money, he must become the choir director of her church and enter them in a gospel competition. Beyoncé plays Gooding Jr.’s love interest, a beautiful lounge singer who helps revive the choir. While the movie received mixed reviews, critics praised the soundtrack, which featured several songs from Beyoncé.
In 2006, Beyoncé starred in the hugely successful and critically acclaimed Dreamgirls. Adapted from a Broadway musical of the same name, the story is loosely based on Diana Ross and the Supremes. Beyoncé starred as Deena, lead singer of the 1960’s girl group the Dreams, who eventually sets out on a solo career and marries a record executive.
Dreamgirls was Jennifer Hudson’s debut film, and also starred Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, and Anika Noni Rose. The movie won several major awards, including a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for Hudson, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
Beyoncé took on the role of another music icon when she played Etta James in 2008’s Cadillac Records. The movie chronicles the life of Leonard Chess, co-founder of Chess Records. It follows some of the label’s most successful acts, including Beyonce’s Etta James, Chuck Berry (Mos Def), Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), and Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer).
Beyoncé’s version of James’ classic “At Last” won her a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, and she was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song.
In 2009, Beyoncé took a turn in the psychological thriller Obsessed, playing a non-singer for the first time. The film tells the story of a crazed temp worker/stalker (Ali Larter) who develops unrequited feelings for her boss (Idris Elba) and relentlessly tries to seduce him.
Beyoncé plays his wife, who ultimately confronts her husband’s stalker in a brutal and violent climax. This was Bey’s first ever fight scene, and it won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight in 2010.
‘The Lion King’
After a 10-year hiatus from acting, Beyoncé lent her talents to the highly anticipated live-action remake of The Lion King, voicing the lioness Nala. According to director Jon Favreau, the character had a much bigger role than the original animated film.
Beyoncé also contributed to the movie’s soundtrack, performing songs from the original movie and an original song, “Spirit.” In conjunction with the movie, she released her own album inspired by the film called “The Lion King: The Gift.”
What was Beyoncé’s first movie?
Beyoncé made her film debut in the 2002 comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember. She starred as the funky and sassy Foxxy Cleopatra, an undercover spy and Austin Powers’ former flame.
In the movie, Powers travels back to 1975 to save his father, who has been kidnapped.There he finds Cleopatra posing as a disco singer, and they team up to thwart Dr. Evil’s plan of world destruction.
Goldmember grossed over $73 million, per Box Office Mojo, in its opening weekend, which was the biggest opening for a comedy film at the time, according to E! Online. The movie went on to rake in $296 million worldwide.
Besides acting on screen, Beyoncé has also released several visual albums and concert films, including Life is But a Dream, Beyoncé: Lemonade, Homecoming, and, most recently, Black is King.