Jordin Sparks makes her big-screen acting debut in 'Sparkle,' which hits theaters nationwide today. The movie is a remake of a cult classic from the seventies that starred Irene Cara and featured music from Aretha Franklin.
'Sparkle,' set in 1960s Detroit, is the story of the title character, a talented singer/songwriter who struggles to find her own artistic voice while performing in a group with her two sisters. Sparks plays Sparkle, while the late Whitney Houston plays her Bible-thumping mother, a former singer who tries to steer her children away from the evils of the music business.
Sparks says she prepared for her first big role by doing the only thing she could think of: memorizing the script.
"I knew my lines. I knew everybody else's lines," Sparks told ABC News Radio. "I knew their exits and entrances and that's really what helped me as soon as I got there and then I just learned from everybody else."
She also, of course, learned from Houston, who was one of her personal idols before she was her on-screen mom. Houston produced the film as well, and Sparks told ABC News Radio that bringing it to the screen was a major goal of the late diva's.
"It was her baby," Sparks said. "She worked very, very hard on this project for over 10 years. So, to see it all come to life, I just can't wait."
The young singer also got Houston's seal of approval for the job she did on the film, which she says meant the world to her. Sparks recalled that after she shot her last scene, Houston "walked up on the stage and she put my head in her hands…and said, 'You are everything that we wanted,' and I just remember losing it there. 'Cause to have your idol just tell you that, I just lost it."
"That was the type of woman she was. She was so nurturing and so wanted to see everybody else succeed," Sparks added.
Of course, it may be sad for Houston fans to watch 'Sparkle,' knowing that the singer is no longer with us - even Sparks herself admitted to ABC News Radio that when she watches the movie, "Every time she starts singing…I can't help but cry." But what she wants to let fans know is that while Houston was making the movie, she was at peace.
"Above all, I just want them to see and know how happy she was on this film," Sparks told ABC News Radio. "Every day we walked in and she was just glowing and she's glowing on screen, too. You can just see it exuding from her."