Whitney Houston circling 'Sparkle' musical remake with Jordin Sparks

Whitney-Houston

Image Credit: Retna Ltd.

Whitney Houston hasn’t made a movie since 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife, but EW has confirmed she’s in negotiations to head back to the big screen — in a big way — with the Sony remake of the 1976 movie-musical Sparkle, which is very loosely based on the story of the Supremes.

American Idol season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and comedian Mike Epps are already attached to the cast. Mara Brock Akil, who created TV series The Game and Girlfriends, wrote the film’s script; her husband, director Salim Akil (The Game), will helm the movie. (The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.)

The 1976 Sparkle — which starred Irene Cara, Mary Alice, and Tony King — centered on the three, Supremes-esque Williams sisters, who rose up from their Harlem church choir into a successful girl group only to have their dreamy fame ruin their personal lives. Sparks is set to play the title character, Sparkle; Houston would play Sparks’ unimpressed mother; and Epps would play Satin, a comedian who marries one of the Williams sisters.

This will mark Sparks’ acting debut. Houston last acted in the made-for-TV movie Cinderella, opposite Brandy, in 1997.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Whitney Houston on EW’s Music Mix

Comments (76 total) Add your comment
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  • james

    Can’t wait to see this and great to see whitney back to acting. I wonder who will play Sister.

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      • ackeem

        am interested

    • Ana

      I don’t know. The cast so far seems extremely weak. Whitney a big name but watching her try to act is a painful experience. It would be more interesting if they would look for actors who can sing rather than filling the slots with singers and comedians who are questionable actors.

      • jake

        whitney houston can sing and act.

    • LiLi

      Whitney Houston in the role played by Mary Alice?!!!! What the H*ll???!!

    • the_girl

      As long as its not Beyonce playing Sister this movie might have a chance at being mediocre.

    • Crystal

      Paula Patton would be a good choice for that Sister roll. I can’t see Mike Epps playing her drug dealer husband. They need someone like Idris Elda. Remember the Wire?

  • lisa g takes shts at work!

    Visually, Jordan is a good choice as she strongly resembles a young Irene cara and has her innocent quality. But with all that said, not sure about acting or if she will be believable!

    • Laila ali

      Well she was part of the in the heights broadway cast last year…hopefully she got some good acting experience.

    • LiLi

      I’m a fan of the original. They are going to ruin it by trying to make a sequel to ‘Dreamgirls.’ I like Jordan Sparks but Sparkle is supposed to have a quiet strength. It’s a role for an actor who sings not a singer who can act. I don’t know about JS.

      And for sister they need someone that is sexy beyond their age.

      I hope HOPE that they get a good actress for the role of the middle, unattractive sister.

      And WS as the mother is an outrage! You just KNOW there is going to be some scene where she goes “sit down girls, let Mama show you how to sing.”

      {sigh}

      • Kicha

        you are so right on this one!….Whitney should play the sista….. and Mrs. Rashad should play the mother….imjusthrowin things around …and MIKE EPPS never should have to play such a serious role….maybe his agent is trying him outside his box…but not with SPARKLE this is a classic and my FAV!……we shall see!

  • What a creative idea..

  • lisa g takes shts at work!

    Maybe mya can play sister?

    • Carmen

      I like the sound of that

  • Tony

    Lady Gaga needs to be in this movie. Someone make it happen!

  • drew

    So is this basically Dreamgirls…..?

    • not really

      I think this came first. It’s not really that much like Dreamgirls though. This is much darker.

      • LiLi

        This did come first. Dreamgirls was basically about the rise of 3 female singers.

        Sparkle is more about the realities of trying to have a girl group when the rent has to be paid and all you know is what is in ‘the hood’.

  • Dee Jones

    The original `Sparkle` needed alot of work done to it in my opinion. Basically it was `Dreamgirls`, but `Dreamgirls` was better in my opinion. I don`t know about this one.

  • amy

    Good to hear Whitney is doing another movie! Hope it’s a success!

  • mjsmoke

    this is not gonna do too well…the original was marginal at best and I doubt that this will be any better. and by attaching Whitney, it gives it some sort of cred but they better get a better cast or else this is dead in the water.

  • Ryan

    I feel like this is being released way to close to Dreamgirls, the comparisons will overshadow the movie itself.

  • IKilledJennySchecter

    I love the original…not too sure about this remake. I prob be all glossy and sleek, whereas the original has such a dark look to it. I do think that Sparkle has meatier drama than Dreamgirls though. I doubt this will even happen.

  • Vince

    WE had this only a few years ago it was called DREAMGIRLS

  • Barack Palin

    Maybe Whitney should do a movie called “White Powder”. And if the sisters’ last name is Williams maybe they can be tennis players.

  • james

    This is not dreamgirls. This came before Dreamgirls and is a drama not a musical. It’s much darker. Whitney Houston and her production company owned the script to this when aaliyah was supposed to do it but then she passed.

    Now Whitney will be the executive producer and the movie will have some rewrites. Her part will be expanded. Sister is the meatier role and they need to get that part right. This is a drama with some singing not a full musical like dreamgirls. It’s very dark but uplifting in the end. a few sad scenes.

    • KBC

      It’s only “darker” in the sense that the original film was severely underlit. Unfortunately, it was also underwritten as well.

  • lalala

    I was more excited when Aaliyah was going to be in it!

    • Christine

      Yeah! I heard this rumor years ago with Whitney and Aaliyah. I was excited about that one. RIP Aaliyah.

    • Shaun

      i sooooo agree with you Aaliyah would have did a great job playing sparkle idk about Jordin sparks playing her and mike epps playing satin smh noooo i can’t take him serious

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