Jordin Sparks, Mike Epps Set To Star In "Sparkle" Remake; Whitney Houston In Talks

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 12, 2011 10:31 AM
20 Comments
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Breaking news, courtesy of Variety:

"American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps are set to star in Sony Pictures' remake of "Sparkle," while Whitney Houston is in negotiations.

Jordin Sparks will play Sparkle (Irene Cara in the original); Houston will play the sisters' mother Effie (Mary Alice in the original); Epps will be local gangster Satin (Tony King in the original). So, what about Sister and Delores?

If you've been keeping up with our reports on the project, you'll remember Paula Patton's revelation at an ABFF talk in July, when she acknowledged that she'd been offered a role in the Sparkle remake, with Salim and Mara Brock Akil (the team behind Jumping the Broom) shepherding the project.

Patton didn't confirm which role, but was clear that an offer had been made and that she was considering it. She did say that the Akils wanted her very specifically from the beginning.

When we posted that piece of news, most of you guessed that the role she'd been offered was very likely that of "Sister,' which Lonette McKee played in the original film. That's what I figured as well - it made the most sense, especially as we've learned, this Sparkle will not be a modern-day re-imagining of the original version, but will pretty much mimic the time and place of the original.

However, soon after that, I received a casting call notice sent out for that specific role in the film, which I took to mean that Patton was likely out of the project, and maybe they were looking for an *unknown*.

So, that role as well as the 3rd sister, Delores, have still yet to be cast, as of right now.

As already noted, this Sparkle will not be a modern re-telling of the original version, as we initially thought, but rather will be set in the 1960s, which baffles me. How will it differentiate itself from the original, or even from the recent Dreamgirls (2006)? And if it's just a rehashing of the original, but with a different set of actors, what's the point?


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20 Comments

  • zenobia kali | October 29, 2011 12:40 PMReply

    I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!! I don;t care what anybody says.......if my sister linda says mike epps is good as 'satin', then that's what's up!!!!!! I can't wait to see the movie!!!!! OPEN YOUR MIND FOR THE POWER OF CREATIVITY!!!!!

  • Linda Boston | October 29, 2011 12:33 PMReply

    This is a MAGNIFICENT opportunity. I play "Sister Clora" in the film and along with Whitney Houston, Mike Epps, Derek Luke, Omari Hardwick, Tamala Mann, Michael Beach, and Bre'ly Evans these are some of the most DYNAMIC actors in the world. Visit www.imdb.com and search SPARKLE 2012 and get the scoop. Stay in touch and encourage support for this Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil film...

  • cameron | September 14, 2011 4:51 AMReply

    @james Kragen

    Whitney also went on to produce and star in Disney's 'Cinderella' which became the highest rated tv show ever by Disney. She also went on to have great sucess as a producer with debra martin chase in her production studion, brown house productions. Whitney procdued
    The princess Diaries i and 2
    The cheetah girls 1 and 2

    so i'd say that she has done fine. Everything she has starred in made a profit and the soundtracks sold millions. you're forgetting that she also executived produced and put out 3 soundtracks. Everyone on the exhale soundtrack was picked and approved by her, it was in her contract so babyface said.

    everything she has produced has been sucessful. nothing she has produced or starred in has flopped. That is a hella of a trackrecord.

    I fell confident that this movie will be done well. She will also executive produce this movie and i know she's been working on this for years.

  • Mec | September 13, 2011 12:52 PMReply

    If this is gonna be the casting choices. I hope it bombs!

    Mike Epps? *confused*

    I agree with misha Michael B. Jordan (Parenthood) & Tristan Wilds (90210) would of been great choices they are both talented and on the rise.

  • James Kragen | September 13, 2011 10:25 AMReply

    After The Bodyguard (1992) was released, I thought that Whitney Houston had an illustrious movie career ahead of her but it doesn’t seem like she ever lived up to her promise sadly due to focusing more on his music career and her personal problems. She only did Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996).
    I hope that she returns to movies. She is an underrated actress and should have joined the A-list years ago. So, I hope she does more mainstream movies, tries to reach her full potential as an actress and tries to win an Oscar.

  • misha | September 13, 2011 5:14 AMReply

    @Cordell, I didn't think of Alicia Keys. She'd be a good choice. But I think Sharon and Salli are too old for the part. Perhaps Zoe Saldana? I'm not a fan but she's obviously hot right now. Maybe a little too hot for a "black film" in which she isn't the (lone) star? Just sayin'. :D

  • misha | September 13, 2011 5:03 AMReply

    Jordin Sparks? Mike Epps? And an unpredictable Whitney? Oh, really? *blank stare*

    I'm still of the belief that Jurnee Smollett would make a great Sparkle. She's a very good actress with tons of screen presence and charisma. Not sure about Sister but I think Naturi Naughton would be a great choice as Delores. And perhaps Michael B. Jordan or Tristan Wilds as Stix? They both in Lucas' Red Tails and are very good, attractive young actors, I think.

  • Cherish | September 13, 2011 5:02 AMReply

    Paula Patton is too old. Isn't this about a girl group coming of age in the sixties? Aren't they right out of high school. They are too many twenty-something actresses out there, give them a shot.

    Jordan Sparks isn't bad. Jurneed Smollet would have been better, or raven simone. But she may considered too fat for the role.

    With that said, I'm still not feeling this. and the lost major points with the Whtiney Houston casting. I wonder if they will end being a BET movie. lol.

  • ken | September 13, 2011 4:59 AMReply

    epps is suppose to be a comic who marries sister, who knows but the story will be changed a bit from the original

  • Sonny | September 13, 2011 4:31 AMReply

    Jordin Sparks is a great choice so is Raven Symone. Paula Patton is great if she's still in it but if not Alicia Keys would be good, I'm a huge fan of hers anyway & as Delores I'd say either Naturi Naughton or Kelly Rowland. Mike Epps is playing more serious parts so this may work out. Whitney would be great as the mom. Plus it would be a nice comeback ! The Akils are talented people I loved Jumping The Broom. As Black people we should support films like that. I mean indie films are great but just cause they're indie doesn't make them masterpieces.

  • Cordell | September 13, 2011 4:28 AMReply

    Who i'm surprised by the casting choices. Well here are some other suggestions for the other roles:

    Sister: Paula Patton, Alicia Keys, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Sharon Leal

    Delores: LaChanze, Nicole Beharie, Nautri Naughton, Anika Noni Rose, Nadine Ellis ("Let's Stay Together")

  • MovieBuff | September 13, 2011 4:20 AMReply

    Jumping the Broom wasn't that great and neither will this be. To me it seems as if the Akil's are overrated. Girlfriends was a good show for the first few seasons and then it got ridiculous and the sitcom "the game" was just a younger version of girlfriends. Stupid women who give up who they are to cater to a man. Not a great example for young girls. I won't even get into season 4 of the game, just horrible and terrible casting. Jumping the Broom was just sloppy, rushed and all over the place in my opinion. Honestly, looking at the initial casting I don't expect much from this film either.

  • Kristen Quinn | September 13, 2011 4:17 AMReply

    I need a role or atleast a shot at one

  • ShebaBaby | September 13, 2011 3:03 AMReply

    Casting is horrible so far. No thank you to this unnecessary remake.

  • R.J. | September 13, 2011 1:04 AMReply

    Of course this is wholly unnecessary - just like pretty much everything Hollywood produces - but I guess it could be good. The original is definitely flawed but I love it nonetheless. This is pretty interesting casting so far. Jordin Sparks is a talented singer, but she doesn't exactly have the soulful sound that I feel is required for the music in the film...but maybe she could surprise me. The casting of Sister is crucial and I hope to God they give Delores more depth than she had in the original film, it would be great if they explored that character more. A part of me wishes they'd just leave it alone, but I know they won't so I can only hope for the best.

  • keron | September 12, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    Whitney's role will be expanded as the mom Effie. I heard that it was her vision to focus more on the family and the mom being more supportive to the daughers.

    I also heard that Drake may be apart of this possible as Sticks

  • Ttenth | September 12, 2011 12:41 PMReply

    Mara was not part of Jumping The Broom

  • RB | September 12, 2011 12:09 PMReply

    NO! Nothing about this seems right. Ok. whatever..

  • AccidentalVisitor | September 12, 2011 11:54 AMReply

    {{{ Epps as the gangster? Bad casting already… SMH }}}

    True that.

    Anyway if he is playing Satin who plays Stix (originally Philip Michael Thomas)?

  • darkan | September 12, 2011 11:01 AMReply

    Epps as the gangster? Bad casting already... SMH.

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