While reflecting about the 40th anniversary of Dreamgirls, Sheryl Lee Ralph shared that she was disappointed when she was left out of the 2006 film adaptation.
“What was hard was when they were doing the movie and they just acted like you had never created this,” she told Jemele Hill on the “Unbothered” podcast. “They acted like you had never been a part of this and they were very comfortable x-ing you out. They were very comfortable trying to silence your voice. Like nobody needed to hear from you. Like we weren’t as important as we are and have been to the show. That hurt.”
The Abbott Elementary star said that she doesn’t feel that the original stars of the Broadway play, including Jennifer Holiday and Loretta Devine, “ever got their proper due from it” and that they “don’t share in its success,” especially monetarily.
Despite the hurt, she said when Beyoncé thanked her for paving the way for her and the Dreamgirls cast when she saw her at the opening of Tyler Perry’s studios, it warmed her heart.
“Of course it doesn’t heal all the wounds but she said it and that was that,” she said.
Ralph added that she feels that if she was involved in helping coach Beyoncé play Deena, the “Hold Up” singer would’ve received accolades for her performance. She recalled watching the movie and feeling like Beyoncé’s performance could’ve been stronger.
“I still think to this day, had I been asked to coach or talk with her about that performance, about the evolution of Deena, she would’ve won something,” Ralph said. “Because to me, the direction for her as Deena, it wasn’t the winning direction of Deena.”
Watch the interview below.