The drama Fruitvale Station -- based on the 2009 killing of 22-year-old San Francisco commuter Oscar Grant -- was the talk of this year's Sundance Film Festival and captured both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. ET caught up with Octavia Spencer and other cast members at last night's New York premiere to find out why they decided to get involved in this award-winning project.
"It's a story that needs to be told," said Spencer about the movie's moving message. "I am an aunt of young men of color, and it could very well have been any one of them. So it's important that we start having conversations about how we interact with each other as human beings."
Fruitvale Station -- in theaters this Friday -- follows the true story Grant (Michael B. Jordan), who feels something different in the air on New Year's Eve 2008 that prompts him to get a head start on some of his New Years resolutions, including attempts at being a better son to his mother (Spencer), a better partner to his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and a better father to his four-year-old daughter.
But Grant's newfound resolve takes a tragic turn when officers with San Francisco's BART transportation system shoot him dead while he's detained with others on the platform of the city's Fruitvale subway station stop.
Michael B. Jordan talks about getting to spend time with Grant's family while researching his role and said "I went up to the Bay area about a month before we started filming and I got a chance to spend time with his mom and his daughter and his girlfriend and all of his best friends," he revealed. "It really paid off, everybody had a different version of Oscar, but I thought it was so crucial and important to the role, to get to know exactly who this man was around everybody that knew him the best."
Watch the video for more interviews, including comments from Ryan Coogler and actress Melonie Diaz, who points out how recent news events have made Fruitvale Station'smessage more relevant than ever.