Whitney Houston is to return to movies in 'Sparkle'.

The troubled star - whose last big screen outing was 'The Preacher's Wife' in 1996 - is in talks to appear in a remake of the 1976 music drama, which is loosely based on the story of Motown group The Supremes.

'American Idol' winner Jordin Sparks is to make her movie debut in the film, playing the titular main character, one of the Williams sisters who begins her career alongside her siblings in the local church choir.

The sisters go on to find fame in the late 1950s but as their success grows, their personal lives grow increasingly complicated.

Whitney is set to play Sparkle's mother, who is resentful of her talent and refuses to encourage her, while 'Faster' actor Mike Epps will play Satin, a comedian who marries one of the sisters and drags her down into drug abuse.

Mike will be reunited with his 'Jumping the Broom' director Salim Akil, who is to helm the project, working from a script penned by his wife, Mara Brock Akil.

Over 10 years ago, Whitney was attached to produce a new version of 'Sparkle', but the project was shelved when proposed lead star Aaliyah died in a plane crash in august 2001.

It has not yet been announced when shooting on 'Sparkle' will begin.