R. Kelly Wanted For Sparkle Remake

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Director From Sparkle Remake Wants R. Kelly To Do Music
by Wilson Morales

April 25, 2011

While it’s very, very early in the game, the people behind the remake of an urban classic are putting together a wish list, starting with R&B singer-songwriter R. Kelly.

While promoting his film debut, the upcoming romantic comedy ‘Jumping The Broom,’ director Salim Ail spoke briefly about his next project, which will be a remake of the 1976 film, ‘Sparkle.’

Along with his wife Mara Brock Akil, who created and executive produced ‘The Game’ and UPN’s ‘Girlfriends,’ the film will be co-produced by Sony Pictures and producer Debra Martin Chase.

The original ‘Sparkle’ was inspired by the story of the Supremes, and centered on the three Williams sisters, who begin singing in their church choir in Harlem in the late 1950s and become a successful girl group. Their sudden rise unravels their personal lives. Irene Cara, Lonette McKee, Dwan Smith and Philip Michael Thomas starred in the original, distributed by Warner Bros, with a script by Joel Schumacher, who would go on to direct ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ and ‘The Lost Boys,’ among others.

The album the film was written by the legendary Curtis Mayfield, who also created the music for the blaxploitation film ‘Super Fly.’

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, director Salim Akil spoke about his involvement with the remake.

What will you do that’s different from the original?

Salim Akil: You know, I never thought that I had would do a remake. The first time I had said no because “That’s ‘Sparkle.'” Then it tok a couple of days and I thought about what I could add to it, and I felt that I could context to it. So, we’re going to do it in 1968. This is when America was going through a huge change. (Martin Luther) King was assassinated, the Beatles hit, and Motown was ruling, and there was all this change going on. The one thing I thought I could do is bring my wife Mara onboard. What I wanted to do with women is empower them more and I think that would be the biggest change. We want to put them in the context of the times and we’ll see what happens.

Will there be a different score?

SA: We’re going to respect the Curtis Mayfield score, and we’re going to use some of his songs. I’m a huge fan of his work and in ‘Jumping the Broom,’ it ends with a Curtis Mayfield song. Curtis’ voice is so indicative of the times and his lyrics was so spot on. They’re not ethereal lyrics. The’re very ground lyric but with ethereal music. We’re talking to another guy who does in a lot of different ways and it will be interesting to see how people react to it. Hopefully, R. Kelly will come on and do some of the music for the film. His latest music sounds like it came from a time period. Here’s a guy who can write about a woman being a jeep to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and he’s an artist. Whether you like him or dislike him, I love artists, and I know that he will just go deep into it and come up with something unique.

Having written, produced and remixed songs for numerous artists, R. Kelly has also written songs for several films, including the hit song ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ which was featured as the soundtrack to the 1996 motion picture ‘Space Jam.’

The Chicago native’s last album, ‘Love Letter,’ was released in December 2010.


  1. Florence Lastique says:

    I hope they don’t totally mess this up. Very rarely can a remake compare to the original. I say leave well enough alone! Besides, who the hell you gonna find fine enough to play Lonette, Irene and Philip’s roles?!