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This story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Sony’s remake of the 1976 musical film Sparkle has definitely generated heightened interest following the death of star Whitney Houston, who plays mom to a group of young girl singers (one played by Jordin Sparks) trying to make it big.
Howard Rosenman, the original’s producer-writer and exec producer of the 2012 version, tells The Hollywood Reporter that a novelization of the movie’s story was sold six weeks ago to Simon & Schuster. The book will be released Aug. 7, 10 days before the film opens.
Rosenman revealed that Houston was influenced by the original movie as a girl and once went to see it every day for a week when she was a teenager. It apparently helped plant the dream in her to become a singer. When the new version was coming together, Rosenman brought up the idea to her of playing the girls’ mother — and she loved it. She has two musical numbers in the film and on the soundtrack.
Rosenman also is teaming with Joel Schumacher to add five new songs to those by Curtis Mayfield (in the original) and R. Kelly (in the 2012 version) for a full-blown Broadway musical interpretation of Sparkle.
Sony, sensing potential for the film’s numbers after Houston’s sudden death in February, sent a lot of notes to Sparkle director Salim Akil, whose wife Mara Brock Akil penned the screenplay. Unfortunately, at that time, Akil was close to a final cut of the film. When THR‘s Kim Masters interviewed him for an upcoming episode of KCRW’s The Business, she noted that she had heard directives had even come from Sony CEO Michael Lynton‘s wife, Jamie. Akil’s response, “Wow, you have some deep sources there.”
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