Jennifer Hudson:
The Ultimate Dreamgirl

                         Danny Glover listens to Jamie Foxx, while Eddie Murphy looks on, in Bill Condon's "Dreamgirls".  (Photo: David James/Paramount)

        Danny Glover -- the legendary Danny Glover -- has had a full career and is far from calling it a day.  He is willing to keep doing what he's doing, both on screen as an actor and off screen as an activist who has been involved in many crucial and important causes.  The title of this piece applies to Mr. Glover's character, the venerable Marty Madison, a been-there done-that manager who is looking out for his clients' best interests.  He rounds out the principal cast of big names in "Dreamgirls", which opens on Friday and adds a gravity to the film that cements its stature and depth.  Mr. Glover plays the manager of "Thunder" Early, played by Eddie Murphy, and is caught up in a rapidly changing music industry.

        "Marty is an old school talent manager . . . he discovered James [Early] when he was a kid, so he's like a father figure to him.  But he's also that generation of talent agents who are one their way out.  Marty has a real integrity, but he is not able to move up to another level.  Curtis can see the transformation coming and assert himself within that transformation.  He takes the nurturing business that James had with Marty, and turns it into a purely business relationship."  Marty is resilient, a warrior who despite his time on the big stage, is not ready to go and run off into a corner to wait for the inevitable passing of the torch.  Through and through, Mr. Glover's character stays principled, steadfast and true to himself and his client -- just as the actor himself does in real life.

        Glover has appeared in several smaller films of late, including February's "Manderlay", the Lars Von Trier film about slavery in America.  Most audiences know him as affable family man and police detective Roger Murtaugh from the "Lethal Weapon" films, but Glover has found fans of some of his lesser seen work, like "Switchback", in which he played a bad guy, and "Beloved", in which he played a man haunted by a woman (Thandie Newton) possessed by an evil spirit or dead woman in Jonathan Demme's film.  Glover starred with Oprah Winfrey in the 1998 film.  Glover also starred with now-resurgent Matt Dillion (2005's "Crash" and this year's "Factotum") in the 1990's film "The Saint Of Fort Washington", playing a homeless man on New York City's streets.

        Danny Glover's character in "Dreamgirls" does not face such adverse circumstances -- he sees them and tries to survive.  When things look tough, it is Marty's savvy that saves the day.  The role is essentially a cameo for Glover, but it provides a balance to the film that effectively makes it timeless.  With Mr. Glover and Hinton Battle and Loretta Divine (both of whom were in the 1981 Broadway musical), "Dreamgirls" the movie stands on solid ground.

-- Omar P.L. Moore

                                                         JAMIE FOXX      BEYONCE      EDDIE MURPHY     JENNIFER HUDSON  

                                                                                                      "DREAMGIRLS" HOME

originally published on December 12, 2006


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