After the sad news of Whitney Houston’s death, attention turned to her final feature film project, Sparkle. According to the people co-starring alongside the legend, it was an honor and a privilege. Hollyscoop caught up with the cast of the film at the Los Angeles press day to talk about the experience.
One of those stars that was particularly touched working with Houston was the film’s frontgirl, Jordin Sparks, who plays the Motown up-and-comer, Sparkle.
“I was like a sponge just getting inspired by their performances,” Sparks told Hollyscoop. “And you know the things they brought to the table and their characters, and you put Whitney into it.”
Having already wowed us with her singing “I Will Always Love You” at the 2012 Billboard Awards as a tribute to the film and to Whitney, this is Sparks first feature film role and she handled it with grace.
Houston plays Sparkle’s mother in the movie. And that role didn’t stop when the cameras stopped rolling. For the budding actress and many others on set, Houston served as a matriarch through and through.
“[Whitney was a] protective mom, onscreen and off,” said actress Carmen Ejogo.
Fellow star Tika Sumpter added, “Protective, but loving, and accessible, and super open to us, and just wanted us to shine as much as possible.”
Sparkle was a project that Houston had dedicated the final 12 years of her life to producing. The film is rooted in the trials and tribulations of her career.
“It's so much reflective of her life,” said actor Omari Hardwick. “You get to watch Jordin portray Sparkle the way she did … You can imagine what Whitney was going through in her twenties.”
Comedian Mike Epps, who stars in the film, backs Hardwick’s claim. For him, the film praises Houston for every aspect that audiences and collaborators fell in love with her.
“The majority of the film, it was Whitney Houston when I first met her, it was Whit throughout the movie,” said Sparks. “But when she sung in the church, it was Miss Whitney Houston, because you understood, you held your breath, you were getting to witness a legend at work.”
Epps also appeared on a Monday airing of ABC’s “The View.”
“It was amazing working with Miss Houston,” he told the hosts. “Without Miss Houston, we couldn’t have made this film at all.
Sparkle opens in theaters on August 17.
“It's a beautiful, inspirational, clean dressed, Whitney Houston movie,” said Epps.