'The High Note' Stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson on the Inspiration Behind Their Characters

Ross notes this movie isn't about her mother, Diana Ross, while Johnson says she did turn to a famous friend to help craft her onscreen persona.

The High Note, now available on premium VOD, sees Tracee Ellis Ross star as fictional diva Gracie Davis alongside Dakota Johnson as her assistant, Maggie. The pair sat down with The Hollywood Reporter remotely to discuss where they turned for inspiration and why viewers will love their movie.

Despite being the daughter of legendary recording artist Diana Ross, Traces marks her first-ever music release with the feature film directed by Nisha Ganatra (Late Night) and the movie's track "Love Myself." After creating a successful television career starring in shows like ABC's current hit comedy Black-ish and Girlfriends, the actress reveals why now is the perfect time to finally let her singing voice be heard. 

"This part, this role, this movie, this story was special enough that it would lead me through my fears to the other side, to a little bit of freedom," says Ross. "It was a story that I felt really strongly about telling. This script came along and I chased it. I wanted it so badly and I'm so glad it happened."

Considering she plays a superstar singer in the movie, it's easy to draw comparisons from her character to her mother, Diana, but Ross says this movie isn't about her mom.

"I know people are asking and people want to know, 'Did you take inspiration from your mother, is this a role that is an ode to your mother?'" says Ross. "It's not. It had nothing to do with my mom. The script had nothing to do with my mom ... It was wonderfully written. It was all on the page and there wasn't far that I had to look [for inspiration]. So between our director and what was written, it was there."

As for Johnson, who plays Davis' assistant by day and an aspiring music producer by night, the actress turned to a famous friend for inspiration. 

"I spent a lot of time with my friend Annie Clark, who is a musician, she goes by St. Vincent," says Johnson. "She has a studio in her house. And I basically just stole a lot of the things that she does."

The duo also opened up about why viewers will love the movie. 

"It's really inspiring when you see a movie about people who work really hard and achieve their goals," Johnson says. "And do some funny things along the way."

"I hope that it brings people a little bit of joy," adds Tracee. "It's a feel-good movie. And the music is great." 

Watch the video above for more.