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2012 August 16

Downtown Sparkles

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Carmen Ejogo, Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter Carmen Ejogo, Jordin Sparks, Tika Sumpter
Nicholas Hunt / PatrickMcMullan.com
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(New York) Sometimes all we need is a little extra sparkle in our lives. Guests at the Cinema Society, Circa, and Alice + Olivia screening got their fill at Tuesday night's New York premiere of Sparkle at The Tribeca Grand. Whitney Houston's final film (we still don't want to talk about that!) and Jordin Sparks' screen debut brought out the eclectic crowd of Cinema Society denizens that we've come to expect like Gabourey Sidibe, Russell Simmons, Rufus Wainwright, S. Epatha Merkerson, Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson, Anthony Edwards, Stephen Baldwin, Hal Rubenstein, Salman Rushdie (at Sparkle!!!), Heather Matarazzo, Stacey Bendet Eisner, Erin O’Connor, June Ambrose, Carlos Leon, Thom Filicia, and the film's cast including Sparks,  Carmen Ejogo, Tika Sumpter, Derek Luke, Mike Epps, and Omari Hardwick.

 

The film, out on Friday, is a remake of the 1976 flick of the same name about three sisters in the sixties who form a girl group and soon become Detroit sensations. Naturally everything falls apart. The revived version (with a few noticeable tweaks) took producer Debra Martin Chase 12 years to get into production, and Houston sadly never got to see the final version.

 

Before the screening began, Sparks' on-screen love interest Derek Luke told The Daily what it was like with the late Houston on set. "She was boss, other times she was an inspirer, other times she would be dancing in the Soul Train line," recalled the actor. "She wore a lot of hats." Any nerves when confronted face to face with the legendary performer? "All the cast met Whitney at the same time at our table read, and there was a shared excitement that we all hid. In the end, we turned out to be like her kids." There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Houston appeared on screen singing "His Eye is on the Sparrow," which led to a resounding applause from the lively crowd. 

 

After the screening, guests walked a few blocks to the Soho Grand Hotel's Yard to enjoy Alizé cocktails and classic Whitney jams. Even the notoriously early-to-head-home Stacey Bendet couldn't pull herself away! A little extra star quality came in the form of an appearance from Olympic swim team gold medalist Cullen Jones, U.S. Olympic gymnastics team members (and gold medalists) McKayla "not impressed" Maroney, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross who enjoyed one of their first nights out on the town since returning from London. Another winning night! 




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