By JENNY DEPPER
Does fame really come at a price?
That's one theme that director Gina Prince-Bythewood addresses in her latest film "Beyond the Lights" starring Minnie Driver, Nate Parker, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Danny Glover.
The coming-of-age flick follows the life of rising pop star Noni [Mbatha-Raw] as she struggles to maintain her own identity while she's thrust into the spotlight and encouraged to do anything from marketing her sexy look to keeping up fake relationships to "sell records." Her mother, played by Driver, is blinded by Noni's success and continues to push her, ignoring signs that her daughter is spiraling out of control.
Sadly, the plotline is one we see all too often in today's headlines about pop stars.
"I think particularly women, you're being sexually objectified. Who you are as a person is less seen. These female pop stars who are wearing these incredibly skimpy outfits, they are encouraged to be sexual, because apparently that sells," Driver told AOL in an exclusive interview. "But the people they are selling their music to are little girls. It is such a strange double bind that they are in."
Driver revealed that her role was interesting to play, as she knows the pressures of trying to be the next big thing. "I definitely experienced a lot more pressure when I was younger. I remember feeling hugely pressured -- and you feel scared."
Co-star Nate Parker, who plays a bodyguard who romances Noni and shows her a life outside of the fame, echoed Driver's sentiments.
"We often celebrate things that are counterproductive and destructive. We celebrate misogyny. We celebrate hyper-sexualization of these young women's lives," Parker mused. "The reality is that this film is not pointing the finger, but instead we're trying to change the discourse around what exactly we are celebrating and what message we are sending to our children."
Driver, who refused to call out today's female pop stars for fear of perpetuating the problem, said as a parent she's glad that she has a son. "I would be scared if I had a daughter at this day in age."
The film, which hits theaters on November 14, is certainly an eye-opening look at what it takes to be a mega-star and what price many young women pay.
Check out an exclusive clip from the film: