'Sparkle's' Derek Luke, Mike Epps and Omari Hardwick on their love for Jordin Sparks
Hitfix’s interview with the men of “Sparkle” got off to a late start. That’s because Mike Epps, Derek Luke and Omari Hardwick heard their female co-stars, Jordin Sparks, Tiki Sumpter, and Carmen Ejogo, were right down the hall at the Four Seasons and Luke and Hardwick wanted to run down, say hello and dispense some hugs.
Our interview opens with my asking about what it was like on the set of Whitney Houston's last film since I’ve never had a junket stopped so the stars could go say hi to their co-stars.
“Sometimes when you finish a movie, you just kindly [feel will you] excuse yourself from the rest of my life’,” jokes Luke, adding that was definitely not the case on “Sparkle.” “This is...a continued friendship.”
Hardwick plays Levi, a guy who can’t really catch a break but who never loses his dignity because of the choices Hardwick made after he read the script. “I just brought what I thought my character would be better represented as, and that would be to play him honorable, to be elegant,” he says.
Epps plays Satin, a comedian who behaves very badly, in the comic’s darkest performance yet. “One of the advantages that I had was that they made it a comedian,” he says. (In the 1976 original movie, “Sparkle” is a gangster). “Now I’ve got a whole different take on what Satin is. Satin is insecure, he’s funny, he’s in a way, selfish... he wants everyone to accept him, he wants to be loved, and somewhere in his childhood he got hurt.”
Conversely, Luke’s character, artist manager Stix, seems emotionally healthy, whole and totally supportive of Sparks’ character, Sparkle. Such a role could be less than dynamic, but Luke kept him interesting, in part, because of whom he felt he was emulating: his father. “It was the same relationship between him and my mom as Stix had with Sparkle....knowing my dad, I was sort of trying to assume who he was.”
“Sparkle” opens Friday, Aug. 17. Check out our interview with the ladies here.