We spoke with Trevor Jackson, Tyler James Williams, and Coco Jones who star in the brand new Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine! They all had a blast filming and told us all about the movie and what happened behind the scenes. Make sure you check it out on the Disney Channel on June 15!
TWIST: Tell us about your new movie Let It Shine!
Trevor: Let It Shine is the modern-day version of the classic story of Cyrano de Bergerac. It's mainly about this kid who is finding his way throughout his life. He and his best friend kind of complement each other. Cyrus knows how to talk to women and Kris has the looks and he has the whole flack. It's such a great story that I think everyone can enjoy. There's dancing, hip hop, and gospel music. It really just shows the importance of being yourself and who you are. That's the real way. If you want people to accept you, you have to accept yourself.
Tyler: Let It Shine is a high-octane movie that just never stops. It's set in gospel and hip hop music - rap battles all over the place! My character Cyrus really goes through a great journey. He writes music for his dad's church. He's trying to incorporate hip hop, but his dad's not crazy about it. Then he falls in love with his kindergarten sweetheart. He submits a song for a rap contest that she's doing, and he submits it with a picture of him and his best friend, and she think it's his best friend.
Coco: You guys should expect a lot of excitement. I watched a preview of it the other day, and my mom and I were on the edges of our seats. We didn't want to get up and get popcorn or go to the bathroom. We just wanted to watch and see what happened. It was crazy. Expect a lot of excitement. There's a twist at the end that you don't expect!
TWIST: Trevor, how are you similar to you character Kris?
Trevor: My character Kris, he's the ladies' man of he movie, and he's really over the top and very ambitious. He goes after what he wants, and sometimes that kind of jeopardizes his friendships a little bit. He means well, but he's a lot to handle. I'd say that I am very ambitious and if I want something, I work hard to go after it. But, the whole over-the-top ladies man thing, I wouldn't say that was me necessarily.
TWIST : Coco, tell us about your character Roxie!
Coco: What's different about her is that she's not as confident as she should be. She doesn't believe in herself. She tries to please everybody else, and she really doesn't stick up for what she believes in.
TWIST: How are you similar to her?
Coco: I always say that Roxie has two sides. At the beginning of the movie, she doesn't have any confidence, but then after she goes to the church, she has all the confidence in the world. I'm different from her when she is the first person and she doesn't have all the confidence in the world. But we're alike when she comes back to the church and sees everybody that loves her and realizes that the only person who needs to accept her is herself. That's when we really come together as one person.
TWIST: Tyler, what was your favorite part about playing Cyrus?
Tyler: My favorite part about playing Cyrus is being able to just tap into all those things that I dealt with in the past. Just insecurities that I had. It's really great to be on the other side of it now that I've kind of worked my way through it, to now go back on it and play though those and maybe help somebody else with them.
TWIST: What was your favorite scene to shoot?
Tyler: I think the scene I had the most fun with was out final scene, which is "Let It Shine", which is the song we've been performing in our title cut. We shot it in two days and it was the first time that the whole cast had worked together when we were shooting. Before, it was just me and Coco or it was me and Trevor, but it was the first time all three of us were together, and we were all performing a song we had all worked on. We just clicked.
Trevor: My favorite scene was the fighting scene with Cyrus, Tyler's character. It was just so fun because it's not really a place I'd normally come out of. Just so different for me, and it was so much fun to be someone I'm not.
TWIST: Was it a good challenge as an actor?
Trevor: It is actually, because I don't consider myself an angry or negative person and in that particular scene, I had to be. It turned out well. It was exciting, and I loved shooting it.
TWIST: How did you get your start in acting in the first place?
Trevor: I tap danced since I was about three years old. I tap danced all the time, I competed, and that led to an acting class. The guy who taught the tap class was also an acting teacher. I went to an acting class and I just fell in love. He encouraged me to go back and audition for some local shows and then somebody from there encouraged me to audition for The Lion King, the Broadway show. Then I got that. I was very blessed to get that. Then I went on tour for three years and that whole experience really revealed to me what I'm supposed to do and what I'm meant to do and why I was put here. The singing, the acting, the dancing, it's a part of me now, after doing that. And that's kind of how I got into it. It fell into my lap.
TWIST: Why should TWIST readers absolutely check out Let It Shine when it comes out in June?
Trevor: If TWIST readers love music, which I know they do, and if they love dancing, which I know they do, then they should definitely go see it. It's something that everyone can relate to. There are relationships, there are friendships, and those are things that everybody goes through. Some of the stuff in the stories happened to me. Anybody who's ever been a teenager, anybody who's ever had a crush on somebody, or anybody who's had a best friend, they're going to understand and they're going to appreciate the movie that much more.
Tyler: They should definitely check out Let It Shine because it's one of those movies where you'll be walking down the hall, humming the songs. Everybody in your class is going to be talking about it because it's one of those films that just carbonates you and makes you want to dance and smile and sing. It just makes you feel really great. But not only that; it deals with a lot of serious issues that I feel like a lot of kids are having. If you've ever had a moment, which I think everybody has, when you really like somebody that doesn't know, this movie's for you. Or if there's something that you really love to do, but nobody's ever really told you you were good at it, this movie's for you. Or if you have issues with just being yourself, this movie's for you. There are so many things that it tackles, that it'll touch people on an emotional level and help them deal with some of those things, but also make them feel good at the same time.
TWIST: Do you have any upcoming projects TWIST readers should know about?
Tyler: I have We the Peeples coming out this time next year with Kerry Washingtonand David Alan Grier. It's just comedians and stuff like that. Keep an ear out for maybe, possibly music. Just maybe. If anything, at least some covers that we feel we have a voice with and an interesting sound. We just kind of want to see how people react to it.
Trevor: I'm working on a lot of music right now. Hopefully we'll have a single coming out pretty soon. Music is one of my main passions so I hope they know and they're excited to hear some because I'm excited to reveal it.
Coco: I have some new episodes of So Random coming out. I have one genie sketch that I'm so excited for everyone to see, but I'm not going to tell you about it. I want it to be a surprise!
TWIST: Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Trevor: Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Donny Hathaway, Brian McKnight, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Rascal Flatts, the list just keeps coming. It's a mixture of a lot of things.
Coco: Definitely Selena Gomez. She's in every one of my categories. One thing that I really like about her is that she's always going to be Selena Gomez. Even though somebody might try to change her, she's always going to be herself.
TWIST: If you could co-star with any actor or actress or collaborate with any musician, who would it be?
Coco: If I could co-star with any actress, it would definitely be either Raven Symone or Selena Gomez. If I could do a song with somebody, I think it would be Missy Elliot or Mindless Behavior.
TWIST: Did you and the rest of the cast hang out while you were on set?
Coco: Well, first of all, I was the only girl and I was the youngest, but definitely. We would play games at Trevor's house. I would always lose, but it was still fun. We went to see Paranormal Activity 3. We definitely hung out all the time!
TWIST: You were the only girl, so did they kind of treat you like a little sister?
Coco: They would call me their little sister or Little Cokes or something like that.
TWIST: What did you and the rest of the cast do in Atlanta, Georgia when you weren't shooting?
Tyler: When we weren't shooting, we were typically hanging out in either my room or Trevor's room or something like that. We'd get a good video game tournament going on. We really started exploring Atlanta after a while. We would just go out. We hit the aquarium, we hit some small tournament games and we found some great places to eat.
TWIST: You're from New York, so it was a totally different world for you there, even in a big city.
Tyler: Yeah! It's funny when looking at every big city. Every big city has its own feel. Coming from New York, where it's so work-based and fueled and moves quickly, this is actually a very warm, southern hospitality big city.
TWIST: What is your favorite song from the movie?
Tyler: My favorite song in the movie, I believe we're calling it "Lights Up". It's a moment where we meet the club, basically. Trevor comes out, we do this huge dance number, there's a rap battle going on, and Cyrus has this rap to himself that he does. It's just a moment where you really get a great feel of what's happening. It's a very high-energy song. There's so much going on. There's so much movement, and I feel like that's really what our audience is going to love, because I loved watching it.
TWIST: How would you describe your sound and the music that you make?
Coco: Well, my favorite music to make is fun music - any music that makes you want to get up and dance and has a great beat with awesome lyrics that get stuck in your head all the time. That's my favorite kind of music and the music I like to make.
TWIST: Your brother Tyrel is also on a Disney Channel show, Lab Rats. Is there any kind of friendly competition between you guys? Do you give each other advice?
Tyler: I think there's always a friendly competition, especially because now we're on the same network. When he got the numbers back from Lab Rats and it did ridiculously well, it was like, 'Well OK, who's going to do better?' I was like, 'Well, I've got a movie with singing and dancing in it, so don't think that you're going to beat me. And I'm older than you, so sit down and shut up.' There's always that, but I also love that fact that when I saw the movie for the first time, he was there and he got a chance to see it and gave his opinion.
TWIST: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. Good luck with everything!
Trevor, Tyler, & Coco: Thank you, TWIST!
Photo: Courtesy of The Disney Channel