Marsai Martin Talks Producing And Starring In Upcoming Universal Pictures Film ‘Little’
If you’ve already seen the trailer for the new film ‘Little’ which was released today you probably have a good idea of just how incredible leading lady Marsai Martin is — but BOSSIP had the opportunity to go on set with the actress — who at only 14 is also EXECUTIVE PRODUCING the film along with her father Josh Martin and Regina Hall.
It turns out that Martin came up with the concept when she was just ten-years-old, and the actress, along with her parents, brought the idea to “blackish” creator Kenya Barris (who along with Will Packer and James Lopez, is also producing the movie).
Marsai teased the coming trailer earlier this week on Instagram
We found out on set just how strategic Martin is, as she described how it all came about:
“I was talking to Daddy and Mommy about some of their favorite movies when they were growing up and one of mine was ‘BIG’ with Tom Hanks,” Martin told BOSSIP and other media during the set visit last fall. “So that’s really how the idea was brought out, that’s where it all started and we started brainstorming, to see how we could create a black girl magic situation.”
After coming up with the basic outline the Martins wasted no time trying to bring their daughter’s concept to life.
“At the Season 1 of “blackISH,” I think it was the season finale, dad went to Kenya like ‘Marsai has this dope idea,'” the actress recalled. “Kenya ended up liking it and right after was calling Will [Packer] like ‘Yo… Diane from “blackish” has a dope idea.” After that we had a meeting with him and James [Lopez] and after that he bought it and after that we went to Universal and they bought it and it wasn’t long before we shot it. I mean like, three years?”
“I’m very grateful and very honored that they were just like saying yes to this 10-year-old who just popped out with this blazer and all of these things,” Martin said. “They could have said no but they actually believed in me and the story we wanted to tell.”
The young starlet says she has aspirations of some day hosting “SNL” or the “Emmy’s” and experiencing the kind of success that she could retire at 18.
“But I won’t!” Marsai promised.
Well — if the Academy is listening they may have their perfect host right here.
In the meantime, Martin’s father is focused on making sure his daughter is just as successful at life as she is the film industry.
“One of the things we teach her is to live in the moment,” Josh Martin said of his teenage daughter. “Live in your moment, you don’t have to worry about what two years from now looks like. Live in your now and enjoy it! There’s no rush to grow up. Don’t start thinking too far ahead because life happens.”
Marsai’s early success is no surprise to her father, who says by the age of two she was an avid film buff, enjoying projects like ‘Lackawanna Blues’ and the Ray Charles biopic ‘Ray,’ which she could mimic without actually watching.
“It would be playing behind her on a screen and she would be mirroring all the moves. It was funny, she became this family party favor, grandparents would be sippin’ on something and be like ‘Look, look, do the thing…'” Josh Martin recalled. “We kinda stumbled up on it. All of this just fell into place and I’m glad it did because she really loves it.”
One particular angle of ‘Little’ that hit particularly close to home was the underlying message about bullying that’s at the core of the storyline.
“Jordan when she’s 13-years-old, she’s just like this sweet quirky girl, doesn’t care what anyone thinks and the more she grows up she realizes ‘Oh snap, people are bullying me, what can I do to stop this?” Marsai says. “So she started bullying them first. She thought that was the solution for people to stop messing with her.”
Martin’s dad told BOSSIP that in this era of social media, he’s particularly proud that his daughter hasn’t allowed online bullying to affect her at all.
“I can tell you this, the social media has been a gift and a curse, because before she was fully engaged in being this Hollywood actress she was following people like Beyoncé, people she liked, YouTubers, then she got to read comments and see a lot of people just wanted to see a reaction so she got to see how a lot of how social media worked and what she wanted her voice to be on social media and when she saw something she knew not to react. One of the things we taught her was not to look at the comments. One day somebody had said something to Skai Jackson and Skai responded and the only thing the person said was, “Oh my God, Skai replied to me.” And she was like “Oh, this is how it works?” She’s a really big fan of Beyoncé and she used to read a lot of the comments that people would leave about Beyoncé and she saw she wouldn’t give them any attention, I also make sure my presence is felt wherever she is, I let it be known she has a mother and a father and I will make a scene because I don’t care.”
Well her film beginnings may be ‘LITTLE’ but it’s clear there are big things to come in the future for Marsai and it sounds like she’s got a great team behind her — both professional and family.
Stay tuned for more great coverage from our set visit coming soon. Don’t forget, ‘LITTLE’ lands in theaters April 12!