Raven Goodwin is set to play the ever iconic Hattie McDaniel, the first African American ever to win an Oscar, in upcoming Indie movie Behind the Smile.
Jami McCoy-Lankford of Hillionaire Productions and Global Genesis Group takes on the producer hat, Gregory Blair pens the screenplay.
The story follows the inspiring story of McDaniel, who famously played Mammy in 1939’s Gone With the Wind, a role that earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She wasn’t allowed to sit amongst her peers during the segregated ceremony, encountered racial segregation throughout her career as well as faced backlash from the Black community, including the NAACP, for taking on stereotypical maid or slave roles. She died in 1952 at age 57 of breast cancer. Despite the criticisms, McDaniel’s legacy in Hollywood holds strong.
Most recently, Queen Latifah portrayed McDaniel in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix miniseries, Hollywood.
“Raven Goodwin is such a phenomenal talent and a gift to this project,” said McCoy-Lankford. “In our first meeting on Zoom, she already showed the kind of passion that is befitting such a complex and Iconic character as Hattie McDaniel was.”
“It’s exciting to be involved in telling the story of a woman who is a part of American history as well as movie history,” remarked Rick Romano, President of Global Genesis Group. “Now, more than ever, in a still divisive time in our country’s relationship with race, the story of Hattie McDaniel is meaningful and current. Individuals such as Hattie McDaniel were trailblazers in their struggle for equality, and their stories need to be told for our country’s understanding of inclusiveness and tolerance. We are thrilled to have Raven Goodwin play Hattie McDaniel and provide an honest look into the triumphs and tragedies of her life.”
Goodwin recently starred as hit movie The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, BET’s Being Mary Jane, Showtime’s SMILF, and Snatched.