*Sony Pictures has released a statement and further details regarding the Aug. 17 release of Whitney Houston’s final film “Sparkle.”
“Like all those who knew and loved her, we are shocked and saddened and the world has lost an incomparable talent. Right now our thoughts are with her daughter, her family and her friends,” spokesman Steve Elzer said on behalf of the studio.
Houston had completed filming on the project, a remake of the 1976 movie “Sparkle,” the showbiz saga of a trio of singers, which, in turn, was loosely based on the career of The Supremes.
“This would have been a big, big comeback, she is so brilliant in it,” Howard Rosenman, who is an executive producer on the new film, told The Hollywood Reporter of Houston’s performance. Rosenman, who produced the original movie and has a story credit on the remake, had seen a rough cut of the film Friday night and said, “I was just raving about her performance, she was so great in it. I’m just in shock.”
Jordin Sparks, “American Idol” season six winner, is playing the title role in the movie about three sisters, who start singing in a church choir, become a successful girl group and then must contend with a series of personal problems. Houston’s role is that of the sister’s not-so-encouraging mother. Mike Epps also is appearing in the film as a stand-up comedian who marries one of the sisters and gets her hooked on drugs.
Mara Brock Akil, who created and executive produces BET’s hit comedy “The Game,” wrote the script, and her husband Salim Akil, who has helmed every episode of Game and many episodes of the UPN hit “Girlfriends,” is directing.
Billboard reported Saturday that Houston’s final recordings will be heard in the film. She sings the gospel classic “Eyes on the Sparrow” and duets with Sparks on a new R. Kelly song, “Celebrate,” over the end credits.