'Sparkle' Gets a Motown Makeover
The classic 70âs film offers a new twist with its star-studded, Detroit do-over
AARON FOLEY AND KIMBERLY HAYES TAYLOR
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On a recent evening, Tandreka Keaton scans the room at Cliff Bellâs while having drinks and hors dâoeuvres at the downtown Detroit jazz club.
But this is no ordinary night at the club. Neo Soul crooner Goapole has just finished singing a moving number on stage, and now American Idol Season Six winner Jordin Sparks belts outs a song with Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter.
Cliff Bellâs has been transformed into a movie set for the Detroit makeover of the 1976 classic film, âSparkle.â As an extra, Keaton has a front-row seat on all the action months before an updated version of the film, set in 1968 Detroit, is released this summer.
Extras arenât told what to expect when they go on set, so Keaton was shocked to see Bishop T.D. Jakes walking around, the famous choreographer Fatima taking to the dance floor and comedian Mike Epps, and actors Derek Luke (âAntoine Fisherâ, âNotoriousâ) and Omari Hardwick (âThe Gameâ) chatting it up.
âI didnât expect to recognize all those people,â says Keaton, 35, of Lansing. âDetroiters are really going to like this movie, and they are going to see Detroit in a positive way. Itâs going to be very exciting.â
The film was equally exciting for Rondregus Underwood, 26, of Bloomfield Hills, who also found himself as a featured extra in multiple roles in the movie. In one scene, heâs a doorman and Epps throws him his coat. In another, heâs a bartender in a hole-in-the-wall bar scene at the Masonic Temple.
He got to chat with Luke and Sparks. He and extra Elijah Conner, 26, of Grosse Pointe, shared laughs with Epps, who they describe as funny all day long.
For months now, Detroiters already have been buzzing about âSparkle,â the story inspired by the Supremes, getting a Motor City makeover. In the original movie, the sisters go from singing in a church choir in Harlem in the late 1950s to stardom.