The former “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks was a breath of fresh air to speak with. Here’s what she had to say about her latest project in theaters Friday, Aug. 17.
By KEVIN CHILL HEARD
While in Los Angeles for the media screening of Salim Akil’s newest film, (written by his wife Mara Brock-Akil) “Sparkle,” I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely and talented Jordin Sparks. Sparks performs in the film’s title role. With the pressure of portraying Whitney Houston’s daughter in the film and re-adapting the much loved role of Irene Cara’s classic character from the 1976 original version of “Sparkle,” Sparks, the former “American Idol” winner, was a breath of fresh air to speak with. Here’s what she had to say to CP2 about her latest project in theaters Friday, Aug. 17.
Chill: Jordin, when did you see the original version of the film?
JS: I saw the original “Sparkle” in February of 2011. I heard something about [the filming of a remake] and it peaked my interest. So I went and watched the movie.
How did you like it?
I really enjoyed it. I had no idea that there was something like this back then. When it came out I wasn’t even a thought, so I never knew it existed.
How did you relate to it as a singer?
Sparkle has been a name of mine since I was little, so it was crazy for me to watch.
When did you become aware of a possible role in the new version?
My agent sent me the script and I was like “‘Sparkle!’” It was crazy. I was thinking, “Was this the same thing?” I read the script and knew immediately that I wanted to do it because the words were just jumping off the page to me. I was thinking that whoever gets this part… it’s going to be very special.
Were you nervous at all?
I had no experience at all in going in and auditioning, but I had to go in and try. I had a couple of auditions [for the part], they called me in and I screamed at the top of my lungs [when I got it]. I think a lady fell off her chair I screamed so loud! I was beside myself.
Did you feel any pressure in carrying the title role?
Because Whitney was in it, I knew I couldn’t walk on set and be horrible. If I’m bad, then the whole thing tanks. All I could do was hope that what I do is what the director wants, and the great thing about Salim (the director) is that he would give me different angles and ideas to do each scene from. He wouldn’t tell me I was doing it wrong, but would give me other ways to do it. I took it a day at a time and was like a sponge on set trying to soak it all in.
Of course we all miss Whitney Houston, but how was it for you to work with her?
When you idolize someone, you hear all these horror stories about people meeting people that they’ve loved and it’s just not good because they are rude or whatever. The thing that was really cool, is that it wasn’t that way with Whitney. It was everything I dreamed of and more working with her. I was the youngest person on the set, and Whitney’s daughter wasn’t there with her, so we just gravitated to one another.
Are you saying that she took on an actual motherly role with you?
She was very motherly, very nurturing. She was always asking me if I needed anything or if I was okay. She was like that with all of us. Me, Carmen, Tika and Whitney bonded literally like we were a family. We loved spending time with each other. But Whitney was very sweet and she had to wear three different hats. She had the executive producer’s hat, the actor’s hat and she had the mother hat that I got to see all throughout the day.
Do you think this is a fitting farewell for her?
She was so excited to be doing this film. It was something she had been working on for years with Debra Martin-Chase. It was really important to her that she got this film done.
“Sparkle” is rated PG-13 and opens nationwide this Friday.
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