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THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS

About The Story
Darrin Hill (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) has just lost his job with a New York advertising firm and bill collectors are chasing him all over the city. But just when he thinks his luck has completely run out, Darrin discovers he's the only surviving relative of his Aunt Sally who has just left him $150,000.00. Traveling back to his small hometown of Montecarlo, Georgia, to attend the funeral and collect his inheritance, Darrin soon discovers that Sally's written a tiny catch into her will. Her last wish is that her beloved nephew create a choir, enter it in the annual Gospel Explosion and bring home a victory.

Between the bickering and the difficulties finding talented singers in the community, not to mention that his heart just isn't into the whole thing, Darrin has his work cut out for him.. .until he meets Lilly (Beyonce Knowles). A beautiful jazz singer with a voice to match. Lilly awakens feelin2s in Darrin he didn't know he had. Suddenly, collecting the money or heading back to New York City aren't important anymore, and he realizes that Aunt Sally left him something much more than an inheritance.

At the center of the new community that Darrin discovers is the Beulah Baptist Church. a meeting place for an eclectic and hilarious cast of characters not to mention a showcase for a young. talented group of rising stars.

"This whole film is about community," observes Cuba Gooding, Jr., who rose to instant fame when lie took home the Best Supporting Actor OscarĀ® for his role in "Jerry Maguire." "It's also about how a man can rediscover his life by going back home where he finds himself through finding the talent within others."

One person in town who has already discovered her talent is jazz singer Lilly, portrayed by none other than the pop sensation of Destiny's Child, Beyonce Knowles. Making her feature film singing debut as the lead singer in "The Fighting Temptations," Knowles was just comin2 off the massive success of "Austin Powers in Goldmember," and she wanted to sink her teeth into a role that would showcase her natural talent as an actress.

"In the script, Lilly is very earthy," says Knowles. "I saw a lot of comedic and dramatic opportunities in playing this character, and I knew I'd have a lot of fun with it. I was also drawn to the script as a whole. It's so full of attitude and energy.

"That's what Beyonce is all about -- energy," says Gooding. "She lights up the screen, and she can just pull this gift out of her voice that's simply awesome.

Knowles adds that besides the fact that the film afforded her a chance to debut her singing on the big screen, another key reason she wanted to be in "The Fighting Temptations" was to work with a star the caliber of Cuba Gooding. Jr.

"He's incredibly dynamic and always maintained a great attitude," remembers Knowles. "All throughout the project, he kept everyone in good spirits -- singing together, dancing and just sharing stories."

One of the most colorful characters in the town is Lucius, portrayed by Mike Epps. "Now lie's a talker!" says the actor of his gabby character who drives a beat up Caddy around town. gossiping a mile a minute to anyone who'll listen. "He's just a happy-go-lucky guy.. .pretty much the opposite of the uptight Darrin."'

Epps adds that he feels a very specific bond with Lucius and was drawn to the character's complexity. "I take roles based on how they speak to my humor," says the actor. "I liked this script because it allowed me to be funny in subtle ways, which is quite different from the cats I usually play. You see, Lucius is one of those guys that just doesn't fit in. but he is who he is. That's what I love about this film. In it, you'll see that people are best when the

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