Beyonce: 'I Lost 20 Lbs.' for Dreamgirls
05/20/2006 AT 10:15 AM EDT
Knowles, 24, told reporters that she lost 20 lbs. to play the super-svelte Deena Jones, the lead singer of the Dreamettes – a '60s-style group loosely modeled on Diana Ross and the Supremes.
"At the beginning (of filming), I was my normal weight," she said. "I actually gained a little bit, but then I lost 20 lbs. when I went from young Deena to old Deena. I wanted it to be something more than just make-up and hair. I wanted to see the change."
Asked whether Hollywood executives pressured her to drop the weight, Knowles, in a blue halter dress designed by her mother Tina, said, "Oh no, that was my idea.
"The director (Bill Condon) actually kept telling me to 'eat, eat, eat' for continuity, but I really wanted to go all the way. I was inspired by Tom Hanks. He did it all the way (in Castaway), so I said, I can do it all the way!"
Her costar, former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson, makes her big-screen debut as Effie White, the powerful singer criticized by the Dreamettes' manager (Jamie Foxx) for her full figure.
Hudson told reporters she wasn't trying to lose weight: "Why fix something that isn't broke? Someone has to represent the average girl. Not everyone is a size 2."
Still, she added, "I've been trying to work out, to make sure my curves don't get too much curvy. I enjoy my jelly where it is."
The movie, based on the Tony-winning 1981 Broadway musical, is due in theaters in December.