Music writer Melissa Ruggieri and I double-teamed Jordin Sparks Thursday as she came to the Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown to promote her film “Sparkle,” also starring the late great Whitney Houston. (The film comes out August 17.)
Since Melissa is writing the story for print, I deferred to her in the interview, which focused primarily on the film, of course.
She wrote a bit about Jordin’s comments about Whitney in the AJC Music Scene.
I screened the film Wednesday night and Sparks does indeed sparkle. She plays Sparkle, the innocent youngest daughter of Whitney Houston’s embittered mother who tries to keep her daughters away from temptation. But Sparkle also wants to be a songwriter and singer. She and her older sisters form a girl group behind their mom’s back.
This is a remake of a 1976 film that drew a cult following. Sparks embodies Irene Cara’s role. I haven’t seen the original so I’m not sure how different the new version is. I did feel sad at times watching and hearing Whitney given how closely parallel her character’s suffering (drinking issues, domestic violence) matched that of Whitney herself. And when Whitney sang, it’s clear her entire upper range was gone.
Sparks currently has a smaller role in a film called “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,” which is currently in production. The movie also includes Jennifer Hudson, whose first breakthrough film role was the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls,” another film about a 1960s girl group.
“It’s an indie drama,” Sparks said. “There’s no music. I play a character.” According to Deadline.com, the film follows two inner-city youths left to fend for themselves over the summer after their mothers are taken away by the authorities.
Sparks’ character never crosses paths with Hudson’s but she hopes to run into Hudson again at some point. “We did VH1 Divas together in 2009,” she said. “She just had her son. She was so excited. She’s always been very sweet to me.”
Sparks also talked about how she lost so much weight. In the fall of 2010, she said she got walking pneumonia. “My mindset changed,” she said. She wasn’t exercising much or following her diet at the time. That changed. “My big thing was getting seconds because it tasted good, not that I needed it,’ she said. “Drinking water is like my job.” She began walking, then jogging and doing aqua fit. A trainer taught her an effective 30-minute workout via circuit training. After 18 months, she said she feels (and looks) good.
As for “Idol,” she is amazed she is still the last female winner. “It’s guys with guitars,” she said, obviously aware of what folks on the blogs here say. I noted that it was when they started allowing instruments season seven.
Five years after she won season six, she still loves the show, loves the fact she’s part of this growing group of alum. “We instantly become friends,” she said, by the tie of “Idol.” “The pressure on the show is really crazy. The schedule is insane.”
As for the show’s survival, she said as long viewers stick around, Fox will keep it on. But she added: “I always feel like you should go out on a high note.”
She would never consider judging, simply because she couldn’t be that critical. But she’s open to mentoring.
- Sean “Puffy” Combs has been approached to be a judge on “Idol,” but he isn’t that interested. Producer/rapper Pharrell Williams, on the other hand, sounds like he’s ready to go. Oh, and here’s Alanis Morissette throwing her name in the mix.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk