*Actress Raven Goodwin has been tapped to star as Hattie McDaniel in a biopic about the first Black woman to win an Academy Award in 1940 for her role in “Gone With the Wind.”
According to Shadow and Act, Goodwin, known for her roles in “Being Mary Jane” and the Clark Sisters biopic, will lead a film titled “Behind the Smile.” The project is set to be produced by Jami McCoy-Lankford of Hillionaire Productions and Global Genesis Group, with a screenplay by Gregory Blair.
Goodwin shared the exciting news on her Instagram page, writing: “Hattie YOU did it. Because of your legacy, we are able to write and portray OURSELVES in whatever light we choose. I am forever honored. I look forward to bringing this important historical and relevant life story to the screen.”
Check out her IG announcement below.
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Speaking about Goodwin joining the film, McCoy-Lankford told Deadline, “Raven Goodwin is such a phenomenal talent and a gift to this project. 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.”
Rick Romano, President of Global Genesis Group said, “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. 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.”
McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammy” in “Gone with the Wind” (1939). In addition to acting in many films, McDaniel was a blues singer and radio performer. She appeared in over 300 films, but reportedly only received screen credits for only 83 due to Hollywood racism.
When she died, her body could not be burned at the famed Hollywood Cemetery because the graveyard was for whites only.
McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2006, she was honored with a U.S. postage stamp.