Raven Goodwin is set to play the iconic and legendary actress Hattie McDaniel.
Hattie McDaniel literally set the tone for Black actors in film and television as the first Black person ever to win an Oscar. Now, Goodwin is set to play her in the upcoming independent film Behind the Smile.
Gregory Blair wrote the screenplay, and it will be produced by Jami McCoy-Lankford of Hillionaire Productions and Global Genesis Group, Deadline reports.
McDaniel became the first Black person to win an Oscar for her role as “Mammy” in the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind.” Despite her glory, white people would not allow her to sit amongst them at the segregated awards ceremony. Not only did she fight against racism, but she also took flack from the Black community over her decision to play a maid that played on stereotypes of Black people. In 1957, McDaniel died of breast cancer at the age of 1957.
“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 said she is honored by the role. “Hattie, YOU did it. Because of your legacy, we are able to write and portray OURSELVES in whatever light we choose,” Goodwin extolled. “I am forever honored. I look forward to bringing this important historical and relevant life story to the screen.”