I walked in hoping Sparkle would be reminiscent of Dreamgirls – another flashy remake about a singing trio in the 1960s with show-stopping musical performances, glittering gowns and, well, sparkle. That was not the case. Not even close.
Arriving at Mason Sound recording studio in North Hollywood on the evening of Feb. 7, Whitney Houston was all smiles and feeling “really positive,” producer Harvey Mason Jr. tells PEOPLE.
“We stood around and joked, listened to music, and we got her this throat coat tea she likes,” says Mason, who worked with the singer on her last recording of the up-tempo record “Celebrate,” a duet with Jordin Sparks for the soundtrack of the upcoming filmSparkle.
Last fall during production, Whitney Houston embodied the title of her final movie, Sparkle, the producer of the new movie tells PEOPLE.
The pop superstar was also wholly professional. “Whitney was always on time while we were making this, and she stayed on set after she was done,” says Debra Martin Chase, who was also a friend of Houston’s for 20 years. “She loved hanging out on the set with the crew.”
It’s been more than 15 years since Whitney Houston starred in a big Hollywood movie – 1996’s The Preacher’s Wife – and while fans may be rejoicing about her return to the screen in the upcoming Sparkle, the happiest person of all seems to be the pop diva’s costar, Jordin Sparks.