*There are a handful of folk who are not happy with the idea of a “Sparkle” remake, and you know who you are.
The original 1976 film about the effects of fame on a rising girl group holds a special place in the hearts of fans, with Irene Cara, Lonette McKee and Dwan Smith irreplaceable as the sisters who skyrocket to fame, Philip Michael Thomas as their manager and the music of Curtis Mayfield wrapping the film in a beautiful, nostalgic bow.
The 2012 Warner Bros version, courtesy of the Akils (“Girlfriends,” “The Game,” “Soul Food”) – writer Mara Brock Akil and director Salim Akil – has Jordan Sparks replacing Cara in the title role of Sparkle Williams, Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter as her siblings Sister and Dolores, respectively, Derek Luke in Philip Michael Thomas’ old slot as Stix and Whitney Houston as the trio’s mom Emma. They anchor a cast that includes Mike Epps as Detroit comic Satin Struthers, Omari Hardwick as Stix’s cousin Levi, Cee-Lo Green as the group’s opening act and Brely Evans as Tune Ann.
“I am probably biased because I’m in it, but it’s an honor to do something that was so well-loved in our community. I think the audience is really going to take to this one,” Evans (“Just Wright,” “Cookout 2”) tells EURweb’s Lee Bailey in an exclusive phone interview from the Detroit set. “I don’t think ‘Sparkle’ has been on the minds of people for a long time. ‘Dreamgirls’ was also a remake, so here we go again. We’re just gonna give you guys some entertainment that we know works and that we know is going to do well as far as the audience in concerned. I think they’re gonna be really happy with it.”
R. Kelly is filling Curtis Mayfield’s shoes, writing original music for a soundtrack that Evans says “is amazing.”
“There are songs from the original film that are being redone,” adds Evans. “R. Kelly has 10 original works for the soundtrack and you would think the songs are from that period in the 60s, but he just wrote them. They are a-ma-zing!”
In the audio below, Evans gives us much more exclusive scoop from the set, which just wrapped principal filming on Friday. She explains how Whitney turned in a vocal performance that literally left her speechless (in a good way). She also says Epps kept the cast LOL both on and off the set.
Below, Irene Cara and Philip Michael Thomas in a clip from the original 1976 film: