If there’s someone who knows a thing or two about the high-glamour life of music superstars, it’s Tracee Ellis Ross. The Golden Globe-winning, three-time Emmy-nominated actress is best known for her roles in comedy shows like Black-ish, Mixed-ish, and Girlfriends (and her consistently exceptional red carpet style), but she also happens to be the daughter of the iconic songstress Diana Ross. But in the trailer for the new comedy The High Note, it’s Tracee herself who’s taking center stage and showing off her dulcet musical stylings as Grace Davis, a legendary singer stuck in a career rut until an ambitious aspiring producer inspires her to take her career to the next level.
Dakota Johnson stars as Maggie, Grace’s overworked personal assistant with aspirations of producing music, and when Grace grows tired of singing her old hits, the two embark on a mission to help her release her first new album as decades. The film comes from director Nisha Ganatra, who directed last year’s delightful comedy Late Night, which starred Emma Thompson as a talk show host with an outdated routine and Mindy Kaling as a nascent writer who helps her reach new audiences, and you don’t have to reach too far to see the similarities between the stories of established industry legends and the ambitious upstarts who help them reboot their careers. If she can recapture the charm of that film, she’s headed for another win with The High Note, and considering how positive the crowd reaction was to the trailer in my The Invisible Man showtime last night, this could definitely be a crowd-pleasing hit.
However, even if you might see some surface similarities between Tracee Ellis Ross’ character and her mother’s legendary career, she didn’t take a lot of inspiration from her real life. “In all honesty, none of this is taken from the world I know of being my mom’s child,” she told EW. “The only thing is that I always had the dream of being able to sing. But this character was so beautifully and wonderfully written, and the story really has nothing to do with any of the things that I know from my mom’s experience. Except for the fact that there’s a real humanity to this woman and she’s not a paper-thin quote-unquote diva that the world usually paints larger-than-life women as. She’s a real person.”
She continued, “That’s the only connection that I can draw. That a woman who holds a great space in the world is actually a human with a heart, who has fears and disappointments and struggles all on her own.”
The High Note also stars Ice Cube, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Zoe Chao, Eddie Izzard, Bill Pullman, and… checks notes… Diplo and arrives in theaters on Friday, May 8. Check out the trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis for The High Note:
Set in the dazzling world of the LA music scene comes the story of Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross), a superstar whose talent, and ego, have reached unbelievable heights. Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is Grace’s overworked personal assistant who’s stuck running errands, but still aspires to her childhood dream of becoming a music producer. When Grace’s manager (Ice Cube) presents her with a choice that could alter the course of her career, Maggie and Grace come up with a plan that could change their lives forever.