Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell on the true story behind 'The Best of Enemies'

The stars talk their new movie and #ThrowbackThursday, and Taraji updates us on how the "Empire" cast is doing, live on "GMA."
7:00 | 04/04/19

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Transcript for Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell on the true story behind 'The Best of Enemies'
And we've got two great guests to bring out. One of them just played George W. Bush in "Vice" and the other plays cookie in starring together in the powerful new movie "The best of enemies." Please welcome Sam Rockwell and taraji P. Henson. ��� 24 karat magic in the air ��� Mwah. How are you? I'm good. Good to see you, man. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. I got to say that is the sexiest shirt I've seen on morning TV in a long time. Thanks, man. I like to keep a little late night in my morning. The Qst in Sam snds for sexy. Amazing movie but it's Thursday. We did a little digging. Went back to high school senior year photos. Huh-uh. We came up with these two for you guys. Oh, man. How long did it take to do the hair in the morning? Wow. Mine or hers? Both. It took me a minute. It took me a minute. That was before wigs, honey. That was all my hair and was like four different hairstyles on one head. And, Sam, how about you? Three hours at least, yeah. You got to get up early for that. Yeah, yeah. Before -- you guys are fans of each other long before you teamed up to do this movie. That's correct. You knew you would have -- you two just would get along and have chemistry after you saw taraji in "Hustle and flow." Something about her. We met through my girlfriend Leslie bib and we went to a bar in Brooklyn and hung out and decided we wanted to work together so I was chasing after her for awhile then this thing came up and we just did it. He says, I thought it would be a rom-com. I said, well, this is sort of a rom-com. That's right. You've been a fan of Sam's for years. How was it for you when you met. I fanned out totally when Lisa told me -- I mean, Leslie, Leslie, he's not cheating, I promise. No, Leslie, when she told me who her boyfriend was, I like, I totally fanned out. I said you have to introduce us. I'm such a fan of his and like I finally finished and I usually -- most -- most shows or movies I'm on I try to keep in touch but I really kept in touch because I had to meet him and I came back to New York and we hung out at the bar and put it out in the universe. It happened. And it happened. For the better of all of us. Because this movie is the best of enemies based on civil rights activist Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis the head of the kkk but ended up co-chairing a committee for segregation back in 1971 and they became close friends afterwards and stayed in touch so much so that they were actually here on "Gma" back in 1980. Yes. There they are right there. Oh. Oh, man. Wow. Look at them. How much did you two know about this story and this project before you signed on? I knew nothing. I thought it was a fiction -- I thought it was fictional and started googling and I saw there had been plays and I saw they were real people and I saw the documentary and I was like, wow, this movie -- this is going to be great and literally I wanted to do it because I feel like we need it. Me too. I was just knocked over by the story. I saw the documentary and it blew me away. I was like -- I couldn't believe it was real and then I read the script, you know. And C.P. Ellis passed away in 2005 and Ann Atwater passed away in 2016 but knew the movie was being made and knew you were going to play her and was so proud and happy you were going to play her. Very excited. How did that make you feel. It made me feel -- I wouldn't do it if she didn't want me to. It made me feel good. I was honored she wanted me to -- that she trusted her story in my hands, you know, and that the pressure was to get it right. She left a voice mail on the director's phone, right, about taraji. Happy the cookie lady is The cookie -- okay. The cookie lady. Well, we have a look at a clip. You want to see a clip? Here's a clip of "The best of enemies." Check it out. That gun don't belong here. I like to have it close in case I need to do my talking for me. This here does the talking for me. I have a bible. Oh, you do? Have you read it? Of course, I read it. Even go to church on Sundays. Then you ought to know, C.P. Know what? Same god made you made me. I tell you what, you two just -- you disappear, you disappear in whatever roles you are playing. I know it must have been tough to get into the head space of C.P. Ellis. How how were you able to do This one was heavy because I just wasn't brought up that way so I talked to this ex-neo-nazi who now pulls people out of hate group, a guy named Christian p.cellini, I hope I pronounced it right. It's not so much you hate brown people, black people, it's that you hate yourself and that was something that I could tap into and kind of -- and sort of identify with because we've all had bad days and relate to that. Absolutely and so on a movie like that, how do you lighten things up on set. Good question. There was a lot of levity on set actually. We had to kind of have that because it was such a heavy topic. We play music and we act silly in between takes. I work in a way that I can turn it on and off. I can't sit in the characters too long. I have enough of my own issues to deal with to carry my issues and the character's issues home with me, I would be nuts so I literally turn it on and off. I literally could be in a scene crying, yes, so last night -- I swear I do it and people come to set and are like, is she real? You know what, that's why you're both talented at what you do. Thanks. And, taraji, about of we go, of course, we love you as the cookie lady on "Empire." Yes. And but you guys have been going through a lot over there. How is everybody doing. We're good. We're good. Actually all on vacation right now. Well, I'm supposed to be but here I am working. Well, that's why you are the star you are. Thank you. All right. I love having you. This is a fantastic movie. Sam, thank you so much, man. Thanks, man. "The best of enemies," it's in theaters tomorrow, coming up,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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