Ejogo, Sumpter, Hardwick aboard, too; R. Kelly to write music
“Sparkle” director Salim Akil has already cast Whitney Houston in Sony’s music-themed drama, and now another Grammy winner has enlisted in the ensemble, as Cee-Lo Green has joined the cast along with Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter and Omari Hardwick.Additionally, R&B artist R. Kelly has signed on to write original music for the soundtrack. Pic is a remake of the 1976 film that centered on the three Williams sisters, who began singing in their church choir in Harlem in the late 1950s and went on to become a successful girl group, though their sudden rise took a toll on their personal lives. Remake takes place in 1968 Detroit during the rise of Motown. “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks stars as the title character, a music prodigy who struggles to become a star as she overcomes issues that are tearing her family apart. Ejogo and Sumpter will play Sparks’ siblings, Sister and Dolores, respectively, while Houston plays the trio’s mother. Green will play a singer who serves as the girls’ opening act. Pic also stars Derek Luke as Stix, an aspiring Motown manager who discovers the sisters and eventually falls for Sparkle. Hardwick will play his cousin, Levi, who falls for Ejogo’s character but turns to a life of crime after she’s stolen from him by Detroit comic Satin Struthers, who will be played by Mike Epps. Akil is directing from a script by Mara Brock Akil. Duo are also producing along with Debra Martin Chase, TD Jakes and Curtis Wallace. Houston is exec producing with Howard Rosenman and Gaylyn Fraiche. Production starts Oct. 10 in Detroit. WME-repped Green, who’s currently a vocal coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” will voice the role of Murray the Mummy in Sony Pictures Animation’s “Hotel Transylvania.” Ejogo, who starred on the CBS series “Chaos,” will soon be seen as Tyler Perry’s wife in “I, Alex Cross.” She is repped by IFA Talent Agency. Sumpter, best known for her roles on ABC’s “One Life to Live” and the CW’s “Gossip Girl,” will next be seen in 20th Century Fox’s comedy “What’s Your Number?” She is repped by Brookside Artists Management and Cunningham Escott Slevin & Dougherty. Hardwick, who previously appeared in “The A-Team” and “Kick-Ass,” recently wrapped Dan Pritzker’s “Bolden!” He’s repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency and Medavoy Management.