Mike Epps talks 'Sparkle' role: 'I am about to show the world the other side of me'
Mike Epps, a comedian known for his roles in the "Friday" franchise and "The Hangover," jokes that in "Sparkle" audiences will see a different side of him.
"I am about to show the world the other side of me," he told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a recent interview when asked about getting cast in the role. "I'm like guess what, 'Now's the chance. Everybody has been calling me a comedian all the time, they laugh at me all the time, now is the chance to show 'em I need my money.' 'Cause that's when they get mad, I don't care who you are."
In the film, Epps plays an abusive drug kingpin known as Satin. The movie is a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name and follows three sisters, played by Jordin Sparks, Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter, who form a successful singing group in 1968 and are subsequently forced to deal with the fallout of fame and drugs. Epps' character falls in love with the oldest sister, named Sister, played by Ejogo.
"Sparkle" is the last film for singer Whitney Houston, who died in February. She plays Emma, the mother of the three sisters who tried to raise her daughters on a religious path.
Derek Luke and Omari Hardwick appear in the film as Stix, the group's music manager, and Levi, Stix's cousin. Levi falls for Sister but he turns to a life of crime after she becomes involved with Satin.
Luke said that it wasn't until he did research on Motown founder Berry Gordy that he realized the importance of the role.
"I related to Stix but I related to Stix more when Salim [Akil, the director] told me and Omari that we should go to the Motown Museum and I learned a little more about Berry Gordy," Luke said. "I found out like during the 60s/70s that he was like every young man's desire. He was like the entrepreneur and so that's who Stix was."
The guys say they all knew each other before signing up for the film, but became closer during filming.
"We were close. We used to jump in pictures with the girls and they would be acting up and we'd be jumping in," Hardwick said. "They'd probably say the same thing, that the three of us got close and they watched us get close as well. We knew each other prior, so this was good times to be able to really get down and let loose. "
"Sparkle" hit theaters on August 17. Check out the trailer below.
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).