But Sparkle isn't all drama. In the beginning of the trailer, Houston shows her sense of humor when her character Emma catches her daughters (played by Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo, and Tika Sumpter) watching a music performance on TV.
"You all like that, huh?" she asks and starts snapping her fingers. "It makes you want to dance, huh?" One of her daughters, relieved at her mother's joking, starts snapping too and says, "Get it, mama!" — to which Houston shuts the TV off and shoots back, "I'm gonna get it, and you will too. If you guys like that you will bring home some kids you can't feed."
The role of single mother Emma was one Houston knew she could take on. "I have an 18-year-old daughter...I just felt that passion for it. When it was suggested that I play the mother I said, 'OK, I think I can do this. I've had a lot of practice.'"
The project "was definitely her baby," Sparks, who plays Sparkle, told Entertainment Weekly after Houston's death. "You could see the pride on her face when we wrapped. She was so excited that this was finally happening."
"Sparkle," which also stars Cee-Lo Green and Mike Epps, is a remake of the 1976 movie inspired by the success of the Supremes. About a decade ago, R&B singer Aaliyah had been cast as Sparkle, but after her 2001 death in a plane crash, the project was temporarily scrapped.