Whitney Houston Is ‘Amazing’ In ‘Sparkle’

Co-star Derek Luke recalls singer’s final film performance, a day before 2012 Oscars, at Independent Spirit Awards.
By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting with Josh Horowitz
Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston in “Sparkle”
Photo: Alicia Gbur/ Stage 6 Films Moviegoers will get to see Whitney Houston’s final film performance, in “Sparkle,” when the film opens in August. Before the icon’s tragic death two weeks ago, the movie was set to be Houston’s big return to the silver screen, her first since 1996’s “The Preacher’s Wife.” A day before the Oscars, Houston’s “Sparkle” co-star Derek Luke reflected on working with the singer when we caught up with him at the Independent Spirit Awards. “The beautiful thing about being in ‘Sparkle’ is that we had something that was recorded that I can hold onto, and in that time, me and my wife and Whitney … the other cast, we really bonded,” he shared. “Whitney did an amazing job, so I can’t wait for people to see it and there’s no great way to go out, but what a performance she had.” “Sparkle” is a remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film about three talented young Harlem sisters whose musical aspirations are affected when one begins to struggle with drug addiction. The 2012 version features “American Idol” alum Jordin Sparks as the titular character and Houston, who also served as executive producer after acquiring the rights to the film more than a decade ago, as her mother, Emma. While the film will mark Houston’s final bow on the big screen, Luke noted that it’s sure to have fans buzzing. “What a performance she had,” he added. “And I think the world will be blessed.” A rep for Sony shared the movie studio’s great sense of loss with MTV News shortly after her death over Grammy weekend: “Like all those who knew and loved her, we are shocked and saddened and the world has lost an incomparable talent. Right now our thoughts are with her daughter, her family and her friends.” The film’s producer, Bishop T.D. Jakes, also expressed his sadness upon hearing the news. “We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film ‘Sparkle,’ ” he said in a statement. “We ask the world to join us in lifting up Whitney’s family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time. “At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure. … She will be sorely missed by us all.” The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Keep it locked at all night and beyond for updates on the night’s big winners and the best red-carpet fashion. Join the live conversation by tweeting @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.

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