mike epps (as satin in 'sparkle')

Mike Epps as the unlikeable Satin Struthers in ‘Sparkle’

*If you found yourself scratching your head after hearing that comedian Mike Epps had been cast in the role of ‘Satin Struthers,’ in the “Sparkle” remake, you certainly weren’t alone.

In the original film the character was a street thug who beats on one of the main characters and gets her hooked on drugs.  Hardly the roles Mike Epps has taken on in the past.

Even as a wannabe drug dealer in the comedy “Next Day Air,” you couldn’t help but laugh at the sheer thought of him being mean or intimidating.

However in “Sparkle,” even though writing/directing team Mara and Salim Akil decided to give ‘Struthers’ a makeover as a comedian like Epps, he still manages to come across just as dark, intimidating and downright disrespectful as ever – a task that took the real man playing the role, down a familiar path, and past he’d managed to escape … until now.

On why Mike Epps says he’s the right man for the role:
I haven’t always told jokes, that I have four felonies, convictions.  I’m from Indiana, you type my name up ‘Michael Elliot Epps,’ and see that I’ve been to the department of corrections and I’ve been on drugs and I have slapped a couple bitches before in my life … you know but I have been through some things before in my life and I was casted for that role because I think the Lord felt like I could handle that role.  And now that I’m an older person, I’m married, I got kids, my life has changed, I been blessed all of that stuff is behind me and the business don’t know that, so I have to show them through my work what I been through.”

On where playing the role of ‘Satin Struthers’ took him mentally:
“To revisit it in your mind, to even think about it everyday, gon’ take you there …  I had to, you know, I had to go talk to somebody too because it was … you know what I been through wasn’t no fluffy shit, it’s pain …Its shit that I hide because I’m in a fluffy business and I make people laugh … This is the first opportunity that I’ve had to tap into this kind of stuff on film and I thought I was just gone be able to  just come and do it and show up – but then at the end of the day and I was sitting in Detroit … the taste of dope come in your mouth, and you’re smoking cigarettes and you … I mean the devil was working. ” 

On hiding his feelings about playing the role from the cast and crew:
Nobody on the set knew I was doing that but me at night.  I did everything but the coke cause I knew I had to get up and work.  But, and that was a fight itself.”

In the end what you see on film is a flawless performance of a very flawed character.  See Mike Epps challenge his demons in the role of ‘Satin Struthers,’ and beat them when Sparkle hits the big screen August 17.

Listen as Mike Epps tells how he approached his character Satin Struthers in “Sparkle”:

Watch the trailer for “Sparkle”: