While its title alludes to a shimmery, light-hearted film, "Sparkle", the 2012 remake of the beloved 1976 movie-musical, has a dark and serious side.
"It's gritty and it's emotional, and you are emotionally spent after you see the film," said leading lady Jordin Sparks, who stars as Sparkle Anderson, in an MTV News interview. "And I think that's amazing that all these people who now are going to come and see it, they're going to go and be blown away and also leave with 'Woah, that was not what I was expecting.' "
The darker elements of this film's story line hit particularly close to home for the late Whitney Houston, who starred in the film as the three sisters' mother, Emma. The film follows the siblings as they try to make it as a Motown girl group in the 1960s.
"Sister really takes like a crazy journey and Whitney was very aware of that story line being very parallel to her own, and I think it's to her credit that she was excited to bring a message that was as dark as it was light, and was not scared of doing that," said Carmen Ejog, who plays troubled Tammy "Sister" Anderson.
"If she was here right now she'd be talking about those parallels without any shame and with the sense of giving to us as an audience, as like the receiving of this movie and this story. When you get to that level you could just be guarded and just keep so many things to yourself and she just wasn't that person," Ejog said. " 'Learn from me, learn from this cautionary tale,' is literally what she says in the movie, and that's amazing."
In the film, the characters experience the harsh realities of chasing a dream and trying to make it the music industry.
"There's sometimes a sacrifice for a dream," said Derek Luke, who plays Stix. "It can affect you and your family."
"Some people, they're not prepared to become famous. They have by default ... because they're a part of the ship," said Omari Hardwick (Levi). "You see all kinds of dysfunction, because they weren't necessarily prepared for it."
The close-knit cast members also talked about how working on a film set in the 1960s has a special vibe to it unlike stories set in present day.
"It feels like you're going back to your mom and dad's first love," said Luke. "You're going back to see what it felt (like) for them."
Some of their other favorite parts of filming a movie set in the 1960s included experiencing the style of dress and the music.
"That time was innocent compared to now. [It was] organic. No Twitter, no Facebook," said Mike Epps (Satin). "People had to be real to get what they wanted."