Stop! In the name of pre-Oscars peace. A long-simmering dispute between Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. and the makers of Dreamgirls bubbled up yesterday in the form of a full-page ad in Daily Variety.
“Dreamgirls is a work of fiction,” said the ad, signed by DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures. “For any confusion that has resulted from our fictional work, we apologize to Mr. Gordy and all of the incredible people who were a part of that great legacy.”
Gordy’s spokesman, Paul Freundlich, says the music legend complained about what the movie, whose plot parallels the story of Diana Ross and the Supremes, implies about Gordy and Motown.
The film’s Gordy-like figure, played by Jamie Foxx, is a ruthless Svengali involved in shady business deals. And, says Freundlich, “a much more clear and distinct relationship between Dreamgirls and Motown was made in the film [version] than in the play.”
Gordy, 77, is “very protective” of his company’s reputation, says Freundlich. “The people who were involved in Motown were his kids.”
A studio spokesman says the matter has been “amicably resolved.”
In a statement, Gordy sang a conciliatory tune: “I applaud [the studios] for doing their part to clearly differentiate the fictional movie Dreamgirls from the real Motown. I wish [DreamWorks and Paramount] all the best in the forthcoming Academy Awards.”