Warner Bros. has set 17-year-old actress Raven to star in “Sparkle,” the remake of the 1976 drama about a Supremes-like group of singing sisters.
Michael Elliot (“Like Mike”) has been brought on to rewrite the script by E. Lynn Harris. Whitney Houston and Debra Martin Chase are producing.
Raven, who stars in the Disney Channel series “That’s So Raven,” will take the role originated by Irene Cara, playing the youngest sister in a sibling trio that becomes a sensation but suffers conflict and tragedy in the process. The original “Sparkle” was scripted by Joel Schumacher and directed by Sam O’Steen, and the original songs by Curtis Mayfield will likely be used in the remake.
Warner Bros. brass has long been interested in getting some version of a Supremes-based story onscreen. The studio had “Sparkle” scribe Schumacher ready to direct a screen version of “Dreamgirls,” only to pull the plug after the Frankie Lymon pic “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” failed to connect with audiences. The studio and producers Houston and Chase got close to making “Sparkle” with Aaliyah in the starring role, but the movie stalled when she died in a plane crash.
Raven, who appeared on “The Cosby Show” when she was just 3, takes the WB role even as the Mouse House grooms her for stardom. She has become the Disney Channel’s marquee star since Hilary Duff left the network.
Raven just toplined web’s original film “The Cheetah Girls,” which premiered Friday. She is also set to star in the Disney feature film “All American Girl.” Chase is also producing that film, scripted by Meg Cabot (“The Princess Diaries”).
Raven will do her own singing in “Sparkle” and has just recorded an album for Walt Disney Records.
Chris Pearman, Raven’s manager and father, will exec produce the pic. She’s agented by ICM. WB’s Kevin McCormick and Lauren Craniotes will shepherd the pic.