Jordin Sparks, a former "American Idol" winner, got to experience the results of Whitney Houston's famous sense of humor firsthand as they filmed "Sparkle," saying the late singer tried to get her to "crack" up while shooting serious scenes.
The movie is set to hit theaters on August 17 and marks Sparks' major on-screen acting debut and Houston's final film. Sparks plays a singer and Houston portrays her mother.
Sparks was asked about working with Houston while speaking at the commencement exercise for Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence magazine. The event took place at Walt Disney World in Florida on Sunday, March 11.
"She was always making sure I was okay, always asking if I needed something," Sparks said about the late singer. "In serious scenes, if the camera was on me ... she was standing right here, it was the back of her head, she'd be making faces at me, trying to make me crack and I was like, 'I'm going to get you for that. I am going to get you for that.'"
"I would wake up every morning, I would go and get ready to do the scenes and you know, here comes Whitney into the trailer and she's singing and she's blasting gospel music and just singing along with it and I'm just sitting there going, 'This is the best thing ever!'" Sparks added.
Houston was praised for her sense of humor by the likes of Eddie Murphy and singer Monica and has been photographed making silly faces. Sparks, an Arizona native who won the sixth season of "American Idol," said she grew up listening to Houston's music.
"I sang her songs into a hairbrush," she told the students. "I love her movies. It was incredible to be able to be around her and she was such a sweet woman."
Sparks was joined by fellow celebrities such as gospel singer Yolanda Adams and Steve Harvey at the event, which took place at Walt Disney World in Florida on Sunday, March 11. Houston died exactly a month earlier, on February 11, inside a hotel room at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The cause of her death has not yet been disclosed by investigators.
"Sparkle" is a remake of the 1976 movie of the same name and follows three sisters who form a successful singing group and are subsequently forced to deal with the fallout of fame and drugs. Houston had struggled with substance abuse for years and had reportedly been drinking champagne the night before her death. Bottles of prescription drugs were found near her body.
Houston made her own film debut with the 1992 movie "The Bodyguard." Her co-star Kevin Costner spoke her at her funeral.
"Kevin Costner was so sweet to her and was so kind and just really wanted to mentor her and give her an amazing experience on her first film," Sparks said. "I found out that she wanted to do the same for me because it was my first. And it was something that I was really nervous about and she really did that."Houston sang most of the songs of the film's soundtrack and is best known for her rendition of the title track, "I Will Always Love You," a cover of a Dolly Parton song.
"She was really, really sweet and her music will definitely live on forever," Sparks said. "I sing her songs constantly in my head all day."
The Disney's Dreamers Academy is a career-inspiration program for 100 high school students across the United States. Check out photos of Jordin Sparks and Steve Harvey at the commencement event at Walt Disney World.