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Beyonce becomes actress in 'The Fighting Temptations'

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Beyonce becomes actress in 'The Fighting Temptations'
Beyonce becomes actress in 'The Fighting Temptations'

NEW YORK (AP) -- In her new movie, "The Fighting Temptations," Beyonce Knowles plays a singer -- but that's where the similarities between the superstar and her character end.

Beyonce's "Lily" is a single woman with a young son and questionable morals. When filmmakers learned that Beyonce -- who has a sexy yet sugary-sweet persona -- was interested in playing the role, she says they attempted to change the character to match her wholesome image.

"I was like no, it makes the character more interesting. I'm becoming an actress, so the more depth to the character, the better," she said during a recent interview backstage at Radio City Music Hall.

Although Knowles made her movie debut as Foxxy Cleopatra in last year's blockbuster, "Austin Powers in Goldmember," she's known more for musical smash hits like "Crazy In Love." Now she wants to be just as big as an actress. "The Fighting Temptations" could be her vehicle -- the family friendly comedy opening Friday romantically pairs her with Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.

AP: How did you come into this role?

Beyonce: I told my agent the next movie I did, I wanted to make sure that it was something that was real, it was a realistic character, and I wanted to make sure that I could show a little more of my range and add more dramatic scenes.

AP: How has your acting progressed from the MTV special "Carmen: a Hip-Hopera" to now?

Beyonce: Experience. Every time I do a movie, it feels just easier, and I get more comfortable. I had an emotional scene (in "Temptations") and I had to cry, I had to take certain things in my life and make the issues that Lily went through the same as mine.

AP: What are some of your favorite movies?

Beyonce: My mom has introduced me to "Sparkle" and "Mahogany," and "Cooley High." I like those.

AP: Are you a movie buff?

Beyonce: No, I'm not. I don't get a chance to go to the movies, and I work so much I don't have a lot of time. I know it's very strange, but I don't listen to a lot of different music either.

AP: Who are some of the actresses you draw inspiration from?

Beyonce: I like musicals a lot; I like triple threats. I like Barbra Streisand, I like Diana Ross, I like all the old movies, where the women had to be able to sing and dance and act. Music is such a huge part of me. ... (But) I eventually want to do something darker. I want to play a woman that's a little more vulnerable, like a suspense thriller or something. I want to play like a crazy stalker ... like a "Fatal Attraction" or something. I also like action movies. I would love to play an action hero.

AP: If you were in "Chicago," what role would you have wanted?

Beyonce: I got chills when I saw Catherine (Zeta-Jones) and Renee (Zwellwegger). Probably Renee (laughs). But both of them were great.

AP: How was it working with an Oscar winner on your second movie?

Beyonce: Naturally I was nervous. (But Gooding) has so much energy, and when you first meet him, you kind of lose your nervousness, because he makes everyone feel so comfortable. He's just one of those people who makes everyone laugh, and he's silly and he's always breakdancing or be-bopping or doing something that made me feel more secure and more comfortable. I remember talking to him about how, before he does a movie, he thinks about the smallest details, from the way the hair should be cut from the shoes ... for "Jerry McGuire," he walked around like that character for a month, to see how people reacted to that.

AP: Would you put on weight for a role?

Beyonce: Yes. Actually, I put on a couple of pounds (for "Temptations") because when I did the test, my hair was straightened, it was blonde, and they said that I didn't look like a mother, I looked like a singer. So I wore my hair (twisted) ... and I wore big dresses and I was heavier than I am now, a lot heavier.

AP: Is there a certain actress whose career you would like to have?

Beyonce: As far as their longevity and as far as them being respected, probably Barbra Streisand, because I think she's one of the best singers and I think she did an incredible job in all the movies she acted in, and she's had a long career. ... (Also) I love and respect Halle (Berry).

AP: Could you ever see yourself doing an erotic love scene like Halle's in "Monster's Ball"?

Beyonce: Well, when I do a kissing scene, (laughs) I feel so uncomfortable! I know right now I definitely couldn't because I'm literally embarrassed by the kissing scene.

AP: How much of a departure do you think you could do from your true self? Would you be worried about your image?

Beyonce: If there's something that's interesting, I don't care. If I'm trying to be an actress, I'm trying to be an actress; I'm not Beyonce when I'm acting. I'm whoever that character is, and that's the only way I can be taken seriously. There's certainly things right now that I would just not feel comfortable doing. It has nothing to do with my singing career, it's just if I'm uncomfortable doing it as a person.

AP: Do you want to transition more into acting?

Beyonce: Probably when I have kids and get married, I'll wanna lean more into acting just because of the stability, and I want to do more movies. Every year I want to do a movie. I never wanna not put out an album, but I feel like the movie industry is a lot easier; the scheduling ... and the fact that you can have a bad movie and still recover.

AP: How would you rate yourself as an actress now?

Beyonce. I've only done two movies and I'm 21, and I've got a long way to go, but I think I did great at playing Lily.

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