Sofia Carson spotlights how 'Purple Hearts' on Netflix 'captures the zeitgeist' of her generation

Descendants star Sofia Carson has taken a massive step in her career, taking on the role of an executive producer, lead actor and writing songs for the soundtrack to the new Netflix movie Purple Hearts, also starring Nicholas Galitzine.

“Five years ago, I was working with [Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum] and she handed me a script called Purple Hearts and the second that I read it, I fell in love with it, with the character Cassie, with our story,” Carson told Yahoo Canada. “Not only is it such a beautiful and real, and really unique love story, but the heart of our stories goes so far beyond that, it has a really important social, political message that the world needs now more than ever.”

“I believe that it really captures the zeitgeist of our generation because we live in a divided world, a divided country, and this film brings these two worlds, these two hearts…together.”

(L to R) Nicholas Galitzine as Luke, Sofia Carson as Cassie in
(L to R) Nicholas Galitzine as Luke, Sofia Carson as Cassie in "Purple Hearts" (Mark Fellman/Netflix)

What is 'Purple Hearts' about?

In Purple Hearts Cassie (Sofia Carson) is juggling multiple jobs in California to stay financially afloat, particularly to pay for her insulin to manage her diabetes, without any insurance. Not having enough money to pay for her next required prescription at the pharmacy, she asks her friend Frankie (Chosen Jacobs) if he’ll marry her so she can get on his insurance plan from the Marines. When he declines, out of respect for his girlfriend, an unlikely couple forms.

Luke (Nicholas Galitzine) is also in the Marines, but just before he’s about to be deployed to Iraq, he has to settle some outstanding debt he has from his days as a drug addict. Pressed for time, and money, Luke approaches Cassie to see if she’ll marry him instead so he can use his portion of the funds married couples in the Marines receive to pay his debt.

Cassie agrees but on paper, the two couldn’t be more dissimilar, both very much of the thought that the other person doesn’t understand “the real world,” or at least, their circumstances in the world.

“The blend of intense masculinity and vulnerability was really fascinating,” Nicholas Galitzine told Yahoo Canada about playing Luke. “I think just exploring the military, which to me was a very alien world, in a lot of ways, exploring someone who was an addict in recovery, the ripple effect that has on the people's lives around you, there was just so much to deal with, explore.”

“It’s just all an actor can really hope for.”

When Luke is injured, in combat, he returns and the couple are forced to live together while he recovers. While he was away, Cassie, who always loved to sing at the bar where she works, started a brewing music career. As you likely expect, when they're forced to blend their lives together, that's when the love story really begins.

“Cassie and Luke needed to really be so different from each other and we had to be almost constantly in a state of conflict,” Carson said. “Liz started working with us way before we started shooting, just to make sure our worldviews are so clear to each of us.”

“Personally, I was journaling for Cassie and I just tried to really immerse myself into her skin, just to feel who she was and how she thought and what she believed is how I believed, and what I felt I could draw from those experiences."

(L to R) Sofia Carson as Cassie, Nicholas Galitzine as Luke in
(L to R) Sofia Carson as Cassie, Nicholas Galitzine as Luke in "Purple Hearts" (Hopper Stone/Netflix)

While much of the movie is quite serious, Carson and Galitzine particularly worked on having that more lighthearted, flirty banter for the story.

"When it comes to the kind of catty back and forth that they had, Liz would always joke that Nick and I were kind of like that off camera, kind of jokingly, and she was like, ‘we need just, that on camera," Carson said. “It couldn't all be dark, we did need levity sometimes, like the flirtiness and the sexiness that was so intrinsic to this relationship."

“I remember we did some sort of improvisational exercises back and forth, really just trying to kind of trigger and poke each other in as many ways as we could, and try and be crowned the champion by the end of this sort of improv exercise, which was a lot of fun,” Galitzine added.

“I think naturally we like the banter and the quick wittedness.”

With Carson, in particular, having a massive fan following, several of her supporters have taken to social media to share how proud they are of one of their favourite stars.