Black-ish star Marsai Martin has been tapped for a new role that will be a serious departure from the hilarious Diane.
In Amazon’s upcoming American Girl live-action special, “Melody, 1963: Love Has to Win, an American Girl Story,” the 12-year-old will play the lead role. This is the first of four upcoming American Girl specials.
According to Deadline, the film that is set in 1963 Detroit, centers on Melody, whose faith in her country wavers as she learns of the Civil Rights movement and the four little girls killed in the Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing. After some self-reflection, Martin’s character leans on her mother, who reminds her to always “stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary,” the entertainment site describes.
The announcement of the film coincides with the release the American Girl Melody doll, which costs $115 for both the figurine and an accompanying book. How adorbs!
Based on the original “American Girl” series, this screen adaptation was written by Alison McDonald, who also penned an episode of the “Roots” revival, Deadline noted. It also has some serious star power: It’s executive producer is rapper Common (Selma) and it also stars Frances Fisher (Titanic) as Miss Abbot, Frankie Faison (The Wire) as Melody’s grandfather Frank Ellison, and Idara Victor (Rizzoli & Isles) as Melody’s mother Frances Ellison.
But what also makes this upcoming film stand out isn’t just who’s in front of the camera, but who’s behind it.
While many other films and television episodes that star Black women usually aren’t directed by them, “Melody, 1963: Love Has to Win, an American Girl Story,” will be directed (and produced) by award-winning filmmaker Tina Mabry-Stiff. Mabry-Stiff, who is a definitely one to watch, recently directed two episodes of Oprah and Ava DuVernay’s upcoming television show “Queen Sugar” and wrote and directed the critically acclaimed 2009 film “Mississippi Damned.” (Which is streaming on Netflix now!)
So big ups to both Marsai and Tina! We can’t wait to see this film this fall!