We’ll divert our eyes from Britney Spears’ panty-free partying (but just for a bit, ‘cause we’ll get back to her later) and fix our gaze on “Dreamgirls,” whose female stars stole the spotlight at this week’s premiere by exposing something more novel than Britney’s you-know-what: true talent.
Beyonce may not be a director’s dream when it comes to her acting ability — Oscar talk is over-hyped — but she’s destiny’s child when it comes to playing the talented and gorgeous lead singer of a girl group.
“I didn't care if I was in this movie for five minutes, I just wanted to be a part of it,” she told me at the premiere. “I knew it would be a classic. It has a legacy, and I’ve been hearing about it since I’m 15.”
The film’s loosely based on the Supremes — and Beyonce’s mom Tina Knowles told me her daughter met Diana Ross at an event and got her blessing.
Given this is a major leap in Beyonce’s career, I wondered what Tina would next like to see her daughter achieve. Her answer was not quite what I expected.
“I’m more interested in her personal life. I hope that she settles down and takes some time off and gets married and has kids.”
So, those rumors about Beyonce and Jay-Z tying the knot are ...
Tina interjected: “I [only] said I want her to have a normal life.”
Let me put it this way: If Beyonce came to you and said, ‘Mom I want to quit the business now, settle down and have babies,’ what would you say?
Tina: “I’d be happy.”
I guess moms will always be moms — career success is great, but where’s the husband and kids?
But enough of this talk about family and a normal life — let’s get back to footloose and panty-free Britney. As the mother of one of Britney’s pop star peers, what does Tina think of Spears’ behavior?
“I won’t comment on it, [but] I just try to teach my girls to always be proud of the way they are, and to [be able to] look back 30 years from now and be OK.”
Oprah gal pal Gayle King was at the event and had this to say on the matter:
“I just know when I go out at night I wear panties, and I don’t show it to everybody. I think that’s really good advice and you know what — not hard to do!”
Last but never least, Rosie O’Donnell weighed in.
“Celebrities in America — just put on underwear. I don’t care if you’re drunk, if you have a substance abuse problem, if you’re anorexic — just put on some panties. It’s not so hard.”
Rosie’s always in rare form - rare for everyone else, that is, common for her. She filmed the red carpet arrivals with her own digital recorder, and belted out many “Dreamgirls” numbers for us. She knows the entire score.
One reporter, in mock reference Danny DeVito’s recent drunken appearance on “The View,” asked Rosie if she was in fact drunk this very night.
“Well, I did have a couple of beers with dinner before I got here,” she confessed.
As for DeVito, Rosie said she was so amused by his sloshed TV visit she sent him the hair of the dog that bit him: an entire case of Limoncello.
Amid all the big-name stars, there was Jennifer Hudson, the “American Idol” finalist who plays the pivotal role of Effie White in “Dreamgirls.” Hudson was up against “Idol” winner Fantasia, who was a strong contender early on and the personal favorite of “Dreamgirls” costar Jamie Foxx.
Hudson told me Fantasia called to say congratulations when Jennifer got the part, and the two are great pals.
The biggest winner may be Foxx, who gets to work with both of them — Hudson in “Dreamgirls,” and he kicks off a 30-city concert tour with Fantasia on Dec. 26.
On a much more sober note, I had to ask Foxx what he thought about “Seinfeld” actor’s Michael Richards’ racist rant — a story that, as I said to Foxx, will not go away.
“I think what Michael Richards needs to do is go away and find himself,” he said. “There are some things he said — and that's what he really thinks. Before [he] starts making his apologies and getting with public leaders and doing marches — just go away, let people forget about it for a little while, let people deal with it. There is a racial problem, there is a racial misunderstanding right now. For people to get over it — it’s gonna take some time.”