In visiting the set of Sparkle, the music-centered film set in 1960s Detroit, one of the more interesting conversations took place with Omari Hardwick. The actor plays Levi, a member of the church’s choir and friend to the sisters who start a girl group similar to The Supremes. Hardwick, who’s previously been seen in Kick-Ass, The A-Team, and For Colored Girls, has a fascinating backstory, having almost played for the San Diego Chargers and being an active poet. In my conversation along with other journalists on set in November, Hardwick generously discusses how he prepares as an actor, the challenges in doing press for films, and how he bonded with his fellow cast mates. Speaking before her death, he comments on working with Whitney Houston, giving light to a less-readily seen side of her, while speaking about her with great reverie. Our time spent with Hardwick was quite absorbing; his candor and sense of understanding of the balance between his craft and the industry around him is reflective and unguarded. Hit the jump for the full interview and here’s my set visit.