When Sofia Carson played the role of Ava Jalali in the TV series Freeform Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionistsshe had no idea the experience would have such a defining effect on her life.
She had already established herself as an artist with multiple hyphens. As an actress, she had co-starred with Dove Cameron and other soon-to-be-known names in the popular Disney descent Franchise of TV movies, as well as starred in a number of other projects. She was also making waves as a singer-songwriter.
Carson and Liz Rosenbaum, one of the directors of the episodes of PLL spin-off, which began recording in 2017 and airing in 2019, established a deep and immediate connection, promising to work together again. While filming, Rosenbaum handed Carson his next project.
“I remember it very well,” said Carson, 29. “It was around Christmas 2017, and she came up to me on set one day and handed me a script and said, ‘Merry Christmas!’ The script had purple hearts drawn on the cover.
This was the working script for purple hearts, which debuts on Netflix today (July 29) and follows the unexpected relationship between struggling singer-songwriter Cassie Salazar (Carson) and Marine Luke Morrow (Nicholas Galitzine). The only thing they have in common is their desire to get away from their struggles.
“Liz told me when she handed me the script that she wanted to go on this journey together,” Carson said. “It’s more than a director and an actor, but partners.”
Carson has spent the past four years not only bringing Cassie to life, but also serving as executive producer on the Netflix film – and co-writing and performing several original songs for the soundtrack, which also dropped today on Hollywood Records. .
As the script was being revised, Rosenbaum drew on Carson’s experience as a songwriter to inform how Cassie would approach her music. “I was most definitely writing from Cassie’s perspective,” Carson says. “Liz asked me how I write songs and when inspiration comes to me. I would tell her that sometimes [I] maybe I’m driving and I have to pull over on the side of the road and start writing something, based on something that just happened to me.
“We kind of wanted to capture that essence for Cassie, that inspiration would strike based on the things that were happening to her in her life,” Carson continues. “I was so lucky to be able to live with Cassie, with their love story, with the script for four years.”
purple hearts and its matching soundtrack isn’t your typical boy-girl story. When viewers meet Cassie, she sings on stage with her band The Loyal as the audience sing along to their rendition of Neil Diamond’s classic “Sweet Caroline.” As The Loyal leaves the stage (or is kicked out by the bar owner), we learn that Cassie and her comrades are also the servers.
A group of Marines, including a friend she used to babysit, arrive with Luke in tow.
While Cassie and Luke “Are they going/Won’t they?” scenario is not new, these characters face a much more complicated journey. The odds of a love match between an immigrant’s pacifist daughter who is appalled that the United States is still in Iraq and a son who believes going to war is a safer bet than facing his retired sailor father with a disturbing secret leads to major struggles.
They marry for the insurance benefits, but find themselves in love as their world, divided by red and blue ideologies, blends to turn their hearts purple.
Carson says the thought of writing songs for a soundtrack, especially from someone else’s perspective and a story that isn’t their own, was daunting. Carson’s first choice of collaborator was Justin Tranter, best known for his work with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Gwen Stefani.
“Of course, I had been writing songs since I was eleven, but for me, from my point of view…songs that came from my heart, not someone else’s,” she says. . “I was so lucky to have Justin as a co-writer in this process.”
Respect is mutual. “Sofia is one of the most dedicated and detailed designers I’ve had the joy of working with,” Tranter said. Billboard in a report. “To create original songs with her and some members of my Facet Publishing team that reflected the emotions of this film was an honor.”
The first song Carson and Tranter wrote together was “I Hate the Way”, which was Cassie’s way of expressing her frustration at falling in love with Luke. It served as a gateway to the other songs.
“I had already partially written the song in my notes,” says Carson. “It was, of course, very inspired by the simple fact that Cassie just hated the way she loved [Luke]. She hated the fact that she was falling in love with this man. It was a combination of rage, frustration and deep passion. And once we brought that song to life, it was like we found Cassie’s voice different from mine – which was important to us. And that kind of guided us for the rest of the soundtrack.
With Cassie’s voice unlocked, Carson and Tranter would complete three more original songs for the soundtrack in a week, including “Come Back Home” which is first introduced at a pivotal moment in the film and released earlier this month. here to tease the project. “We wrote two different versions of the song until we landed on the ‘Come Back Home’ that you hear in the movie,” explains Carson. “And once we did, we fell in love with it. And we knew it was our song. It really captured the soul, the tenderness of this moment, the vulnerability in this moment – and really the heart of our story.
No matter how purple hearts is received, the immersive experience has changed the way Carson views his career, she says. Having had experience in executive production, she doesn’t want to go back.
“It’s interesting because growing up, I always had examples of women like Barbra Streisand and Cher who were trailblazers and really redefined what it meant to be a woman in the industry,” she says. “They did everything. They weren’t just musicians and songwriters, but they were also directors and producers. So it’s very exciting to have entered this stage of my career.