×

Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks ‘Sparkle’ for Sony

Thesps to star in remake of musical

Sony Pictures is rounding up a sparkling cast for its remake of the 1976 music-themed pic “Sparkle”: Whitney Houston is in negotiations to join “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps in the film, which Salim Akil is directing from a script by Mara Brock Akil.

Debra Martin Chase, TD Jakes and Curtis Wallace are producing along with the Akils, while Houston will exec produce with Howard Rosenman and Gaylyn Fraiche.

TriStar Pictures will distribute the film in association with Stage 6 Films. Production is skedded to start next month.

Original pic followed three sisters who begin singing in their church choir in Harlem in the late 1950s and go on to become a successful girl group. Their sudden rise unravels their personal lives.Remake will be set in 1968 Detroit during the rise of Motown. Story will focus on the youngest sister, a music prodigy named Sparkle (Sparks), and her struggle to become a star while overcoming issues that are tearing her family apart.

Popular on Variety

“Sparkle” will mark Houston’s first starring film role in 15 years; she last toplined Penny Marshall’s 1996 pic “The Preacher’s Wife.” The Grammy-winning recording artist previously starred in “Waiting to Exhale and “The Bodyguard.”

Project reunites director Akil with Epps, who starred in the helmer’s wedding pic “Jumping the Broom.” That pic grossed more than $37 million domestically earlier this year. Epps, best known for his comedic turns in “The Hangover” and “The Honeymooners,” has been showcasing his dramatic chops of late: He recently wrapped the indie thriller “Vipaka,” which stars Forest Whitaker and Anthony Mackie. Epps’ next gig is hosting this year’s BET Hip-Hop Awards.

Sparks, who won the sixth season of “American Idol,” is a Grammy-nominated platinum recording artist who will make her feature film debut in “Sparkle.”

Sparks is repped by CAA, while WME reps Houston. Epps is repped by ICM.

More Film

  • Rachel Brosnahan25th Annual Screen Actors Guild

    Film News Roundup: Rachel Brosnahan Starring in Sci-Fi Movie 'Distant'

    In today’s film news roundup, Rachel Brosnahan will try science-fiction, documentaries about Herb Alpert and Sasha Joseph Neulinger find homes, and Cameron Boyce’s “Runt” gets a premiere. CASTING Rachel Brosnahan will star with Anthony Ramos in Amblin Partners’ upcoming comedic sci-fi film “Distant.” Will Speck and Josh Gordon will direct from Spenser Cohen’s script about [...]

  • Aldis Hodge Regina King

    Aldis Hodge Gushes Over Working With First-Time Film Director Regina King

    Regina King is on a roll. After winning an Oscar for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and starring as masked vigilante Sister Knight in HBO’s “Watchmen,” King is gearing up to make her film directing debut with “One Night in Miami.” Adapted by Kemp Powers from his play of the same name, the film dramatizes a [...]

  • Jon Berg

    Netflix Developing Female-Fronted Comedy Film With Jon Berg (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix is developing an untitled female-led comedy with producer Jon Berg, the former Warner Bros.’ co-president of production. The writing team of Jordan Roter (“The Tear Down,” “Camp Rules”) and Monica Corcoran Harel (New York Times, Marie Claire) has been attached to write the project. Netflix is keeping the logline under wraps. The project will [...]

  • Bob Chapek Disney CEO

    Why Wall Street Is Unhappy (for Now) With Disney's CEO Change

    We all knew the end was coming. Bob Iger had promised, time and again, that the end was coming. But the rather abrupt announcement Tuesday afternoon that he would relinquish his longtime role as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. — and that theme parks head Bob Chapek would succeed him at the top of [...]

  • Dau

    'DAU. Natasha': Film Review

    There’s a school of critical thought that believes no contextual details or backstory to a film — be they to do with its source material, the circumstances of its production, or its makers’ motivation — should be examined or factored into a review of it, that the final product up on the screen is the [...]

  • The Invisible Man Movie

    Box Office: 'The Invisible Man' Eyes $20 Million-Plus Debut

    With “The Invisible Man,” a terrifying thriller starring Elisabeth Moss, Universal is attempting to revive the cinematic prospects for its classic monster properties. After “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise flamed out theaters in 2017, the studio scraped its plans to form an interconnected Dark Universe and instead retooled its vision to create standalone stories unique [...]

  • Dau

    'Dau' Director Defends Controversial Russian Competition Film: 'It's Not Hollywood'

    “Dau. Natasha,” the Russian art project-turned-movie franchise competing at the Berlinale, has triggered headlines in the local and international press over the years due to its epic scale, scenes of graphic violence and anecdotes of an allegedly oppressive work environment for women. Hours before the film’s premiere at a presser on Wednesday, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content