Tue., Jun. 16, 2009 12:13 PM PDT by Marc Malkin
Arnold Turner/Getty Images, HBO/ Keith Bernstein , Disney Enterprises Inc
Anika Noni Rose must have wished upon a star, because her dream really came true. Ms. Rose is the starring voice in Disney's upcoming animated flick The Princess and the Frog.
"It's the most thrilling thing," says Rose, the Tony Award winner who you're likely to remember from her work as Lorrell opposite Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé in Dreamgirls. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a little itty-bitty person to be a Disney voice."
It's also a history-making flick, with Disney's first African-American princess…
It must be a pretty intense feeling knowing you're the first African-American princess.
It's pretty amazing. For me, it means even so much more, because I have a nephew who is only 3 years old, and I will be the first princess he sees.
Are you hoping for a White House screening of the movie?
I'm ready! I mean, you look at those two little girls and they are the most beautiful creatures. You want to run up and hug them.
Let's talk about The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Did you read the books before getting the part of Grace Makutsi?
I had! I had read about three of the books, just randomly someone gave them to me and was like, "I think you'll like these."
What was it like filming in Botswana?
It was fantastic. [Director Anthony Minghella] had us there a lot longer than we needed to be. I was there for two months, but I only shot for 12 days. I was living in a hotel that used to be someone's house. The fact that he allowed me to be there for that amount of time really allowed me to take in what was around me.
You've won a Tony, were part of the Oscar-winning Dreamgirls and now there's Emmy buzz for No. 1 Ladies'. Are you like a good luck charm or something?
I do have to say that I'm very honored that HBO has decided to push it forward for this, because it's such a labor of love. It's nice to have someone standing behind you saying, "Look at this, pay attention to this, we love what they did."
Do you know yet if there's going to be a second season?
We don't know. I've gotten to the point where it doesn't worry me. About four or five years ago, I would have been like, "Ahh," but now I really feel like things don't always work out the way you plan, but they always work out.
Your No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency costar Jill Scott just had a baby, and your Dreamgirls costar Jennifer Hudson is pregnant. Have you offered to babysit for them already?
What is that? [Laughs] Everybody is popping out little ones. I'm just ready to bite a foot and a thigh. I love a baby thigh and foot in front of me so much.
How do you think they'll be as moms?
For a baby to come into a home where they are wanted, and they are wanted before they got there, that's a wonderful thing.
I've been a Jennifer Hudson fan since before Dreamgirls.
It's been a hell of a year for her. I'm happy for her and that her life is moving forward.
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I am so excited about the film.