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Hollywood has long been criticized for storytelling that is oftentimes unrealistic or overly glamorized. And it’s portrayal of, well, Hollywood is no different.
Though Sparkle tells the story of an aspiring star in the Motown era, Detroit in the 1960s, it nonetheless chronicles the ups and downs of a struggling singer-songwriter and her journey to be signed by Columbia Records. Ironically, the part is played by none other than powerhouse vocalist Jordin Sparks, who rose to overnight success on American Idol in 2007.
With several veteran musicians in the cast, the late Whitney Houston, Cee Lo Green and rapper Mike Epps among them, it would appear that Sparkle should benefit from the inside perspective of various players in the industry.
Asked whether the music industry has been portrayed accurately in films, Epps responds: “Some stories are really, really on point and some stories are fabricated. This story particularly was on point.”
“That’s how the music business was back then,” he continues. “Talent wanted to get on and you could kind of guerilla style get on back in the day, like the girls did.”
Co-star Omari Hardwick is quick to note the differences between rising stars today and during the days of Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. In the film, Sparks’ character is aided by an aspiring music manager, played by Derek Luke, who — in addition to being a love interest — also hustles the girl group to the top of their game.
“In this new generation, you know how quick it is,” says Hardwick. “I think it’s really cool thing we see with Derek’s character about process, and Jordin’s character about process. You can’t have things overnight.”
Speaking more generally, Sparks concedes that film is not typically an accurate representation of the music biz.
“In film, you stretch the truth a lot you stretch the truth a lot you stretch the glitz, the glamor and that’s really magnified and glorified,” she explains. “10 percent of the music industry is the red carpets and the music videos, a lot of it is hard work and determination and sacrifice. They do portray that, but everything else is really what’s put on the forefront.”
Regarding the differences between then and now, Sparks notes that “you really had to have talent” before the days of reality television and YouTube. “Things are changing because of the Internet. You can make it really fast, but it’s if you have the talent to make it last, is the question.”
For more from the cast, watch the videos above and below. Sparkle opens nationwide Friday, Aug. 17.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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