*New movie, “Sparkle,” partially-produced by the late Whitney Houston, along with being her final on-screen effort, features a dynamic cast of familiar Hollywood faces such as Mike Epps (Satin), Derek Luke (Stix), and Omari Hardwick (Levi). But there are also a few Tinseltown up and comers that lend their talents to helping the film, well … sparkle.
In the latter group, along with fresh faces such as “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks (Sparkle), Tika Sumpter (Delores), and Carmen Ejogo (Sister) the former co-host of BET’s 106 and Park, Terrence J, adds another bullet point to his burgeoning acting resume by playing the role of a gregarious club announcer in the opening scenes of the remake of the 1976 classic.
Sparkle hits theaters today, August 17, and – giving it that one last plug – Terrence J spoke to EURweb about his role, his life-changing encounter with Whitney Houston and what makes the film special and a must see.
EUR: Hi, Terrence. We are all excited about the remake of “Sparkle,” as we were with “Dreamgirls.” Had you seen the original prior to signing on to the project?
Terrence J: it was actually one of my favorite films because I always wanted to be in the music industry. So, I just love Sparkle and I’m so excited for people to see this new vision of it.
EUR: It’s such a classic..any trepidation about it living up to expectations?
TJ: For me, its just kind of wanting people to see our vision of it. The movie is different…there are some parts that are the same as the original, but I think it’s a real unique spin and people are gonna really like it.
EUR: What role did you play and what attracted you to it?
TJ: I’m the club host, I’m actually in like the first scene in the movie. I have a scene with Cee Lo Green that’s a lot of fun. For me, the biggest attracting factor is, for one, it’s always been one of my favorite movies and, for two, I got to work with Mara and Salim Akil … I worked them when I did the game and they’re great ….any time I get to work with Salim, I’m gonna say yes.
EUR: You worked along with not only a talented, but a unique cast when you include Whitney Houston…how much time did you have with Whitney?
TJ: I had one scene with Whitney on set, one shot, so to speak and it will be a moment I’ll always cherish.
EUR: What stands out the most about your interaction with her and what impact did her untimely death have on you?
TJ: For me, it was that I took the moment for granted. I thought that I’d see her later on at the premiere … I thought that I’d get a picture and spend more time with her, but I’ll never get that moment now and what I’ve taken away from it is just to never take moments for granted. If you see someone that you look up to or they made an impact on your life, you’ve gotta tell them then, because you just never know.
EUR: Alongside Whitney, the production team behind this was a who’s who … T.D. Jakes, R. Kelly, the Akils, etc. was there an overt spiritual message the film conveyed due to Jakes’ influence? Also, talk about the original music produced by R. Kelly.
TJ: There’s a scene with Whitney Houston that is hard to watch without tearing up, because she sings and it just touches your soul. It’s dope … it’s an experience. You’re gonna leave the theater and you’ll be singing some of the songs … some of the most prolific voices of our time and some of the new and freshest faces of our time, like Jordin, and I mean it just on all levels is just really gonna blow people away.
EUR: Give me a moment that occurred with the rest of the cast that left an impression on you.
TJ: Working with Cee Lo Green was really fun. I mean he comes on set and we have an original song that he performs and it’s like an older record, but the song is so dope and he was just so much fun on set. He goes up and we got to watch Cee Lo green perform for like two or three hours straight … that was a lot of fun for me.
EUR: Have you seen the final cut and if so, what was your reaction?
TJ: Yes, I saw the movie in it’s entirety about a week ago, and since I wasn’t there for most of the shooting, I had to … it’s just a really good film. I had something else that I had to shoot, so I had to haul it out of there, but the movie was so good, I couldn’t leave. I had to sit there and watch the whole thing.
EUR: Give me the most compelling reason you think people should see “Sparkle.”
TJ: For Whitney Houston … go see it for Whitney. When you see this film you’re gonna see just how strong, beautiful and elegant, she was … just amazing.