Friday, November 16, 2007

Beyonce in dreads?

I'm not reading as much these days, which is because I'm working almost nonstop on my dissertation. That's why there's so much about musicals lately; just do the youtube search and let them play while I switch back to Word.

I just stumbled on the oddest bit of musical news from July, that Beyonce was in talks with Disney to star in a film version of Tim Rice and Elton John's Aida. You might know this best from the single released off the preview, Elton John and Leann Rimes' "Written in the Stars." I am somewhat flabbergasted and yet it's perfectly logical, because I suppose Beyonce wants to make musicals, and she needs either a musical that the studios are willing to cast colorblind or one with a black female lead. Among the latter, Aida is pretty far up there, and it allows for a lot of Beyonce looking regal and gorgeous.

Not the greatest of musicals, which explains the flabbergastedness -- it took 10 years for Rent to get to film, by which time the actors were all in their thirties, and I haven't heard anything about Wicked being made into a film. So I would think that either Beyonce signs, or it doesn't get made. The other jaw-dropping part of the article was that Christina Aguilera might play the other female lead, Amneris; I hope that's not the case unless Aguilera has unsuspected acting chops, because that character needs to be funny with unexpected flashes of depth.

I speak authoritatively because I actually saw this musical on Broadway years ago, and was lucky enough to get to see it with Adam Pascal, Roger from Rent. He was also the original Radames in this one and came back at the end of the run, which is when I saw him. I wonder if he'd be in the movie too? The cast was fantastic--Felicia Finley played the Aguilera role.

I'm all for musicals being made, and I like Beyonce, so here's hoping it gets made. I bet she's hoping not to be overshadowed by another Jennifer Hudson. I also wonder frankly what she'd look like in the film. Aida in the musical is a Nubian princess, and she was always played on Broadway by a very dark-skinned actress with dreads, cornrows, or a close crop, the better to contrast with the -- I'm not kidding -- all-blond Egyptians. Beyonce's hair is going to have to go!


jodi said...

huh. i never got to see "Aida" on b-way (Adam Pascal....dreamy...), but I do like the music. Still, no "Rent" or "Wicked," indeed.

Basically, I remain simply, completely, pro-musical. I don't know if we thank "Moulin Rouge," "Chicago," or something else, but I am glorying in the revival of the movie musical.

And.... Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd, anyone? Just a month away!

Heidi said...

Yeah... I'm not as much of a Sondheim nut as you, and I'm worried about the singing (Depp and Bonham carter), but we'll see.