Fresh off her history-making turn executive producing “Little,” teen actress Marsai Martin has landed her next feature film as a lead and producer.
The “Black-ish” star will produce the big screen adaptation of an upcoming debut fantasy novel series by B.B. Alston. The South Carolina resident’s “Amari and the Night Brothers” is focused on a Black girl who discovers her magical powers once she sets off on a journey, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The adaptation will be produced through Martin and her co-producer, dad Josh Martin, through their Genius Productions. Actor Don Cheadle is also set to produce, as well as Mandeville Films, the production company behind the $1.3 billion-grossing “Beauty and the Beast” remake Disney released in 2017.
In addition to 14-year-old Marsai producing the flick, it’ll also be her next starring vehicle.
Genius Productions and the company’s production partners secured the chance to launch the film after Universal Pictures optioned the rights to Alston’s novel following a bidding war with Disney, Paramount and Sony. Universal signed a first-look production deal with Genius Productions in February, NPR reported, giving them the initial option to create the project when it came along.
Even before the novel’s likely January 2021 publishing date, “Amari and the Night Brothers” has already attracted a ton of attention. Even before April’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where territories fiercely bid for book rights, The Bookseller Daily reported the trilogy was sold into nine territories, including the Netherlands and Hungary. The Hollwood Reporter reported HarperCollins Publishers imprint Balzer + Bray secured a six-way auction for U.S. rights.
“Amari and the Night Brothers” will follow Marsai’s historic turn as Hollywood’s youngest executive producer ever when she developed “Little,” in which she also starred.
With acting under her belt and producing firmly on the table, Marsai is setting her sights on what else she can accomplish as she continues to grow up in Hollywood.
“My big goal that I would want to do is host [Saturday Night Live] or host the Emmys and probably make it lit because every time I’m there it be like a tea-sipping like situation,” she told Black Film while speaking of “Little” in January. “To the point where I could retire by the age of 18, even though I’m not, but trying to do that at a young age.”