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In Dreamgirls, Eddie Murphy plays James "Thunder" Early, a character who's part James Brown, part Little Richard, and all Eddie Murphy. As a fan of the musical, he was excited to be cast in the film. "I'm much older than the rest of the cast," he says. "I saw the original play on Broadway 25 years ago and I loved [it]. I was blown away when they asked me to be in it."
Like the rest of the cast, Eddie does all his own singing in the film, but even he admits that the pop albums he put out in the '80s weren't a good example of what he could do. "I don't know if 'Party All the Time' gave you any [idea] of what was coming—that this was coming 20 years later," he jokes.