"He was unapologetic 100% of the time."
HOLLYWOOD -- One of the newest movies hitting theaters this weekend takes place in the world of classical music in the 1700s, but actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. believes his film still has a contemporary feel.
"Chevalier" is based on the true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
He was the illegitimate son of a French plantation owner and an African slave. His talent as a violist and composer would make him a star in French society and a good friend to Marie Antoinette.
"He was like the Michael Jackson of the moment," said Harrison Jr. "It was fun chronicling that from the 1700s and finding out how contemporary that was for us now in some ways."
Harrison Jr., who began his career with small roles in films like "Ender's Game" and "12 Years a Slave" said Bologne's spirit was unlike any other.
"He was unapologetic 100% of the time," he said. "I pulled from Prince a lot because I think Prince was never trying to diminish who he was in his artistry."
Harrison Jr. calls the movie his character's "Purple Rain," and when you watch him performing, there's no body double. The actor played violin as a kid and director Stephen Williams was confident in his ability.
"I was so scared that I wasn't able to pull it off, but Stephen refused and I'm glad he did because it pushed me to accomplish things I didn't ever know I could," he said. "I'm really grateful for that."