A Hattie McDaniel biopic, Behind the Smile, is in the works. Raven Goodwin, most recently seen in the critically-acclaimed The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, will play the iconic, groundbreaking actress who was the first Black person to win an Oscar.
The film is being produced by Jami McCoy-Lankford of Hillionaire Productions and Global Genesis Group, with the later also handling the film’s sales. The script was written by Gregory Daniel. A director is not yet attached.
“Raven Goodwin is such a phenomenal talent and a gift to this project,” said McCoy-Lankford in a statement via Deadline, the outlet that broke this news. “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,” said 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.”
“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.”
Last year, McDaniel was portrayed in Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood by Queen Latifah.
Goodwin is also known for her roles in Being Mary Jane and SMILF, as well as the Disney Channel series Good Luck Charlie and Nickelodeon’s Just Jordan.