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Actress Raven Goodwin has been tapped to play legendary actress Hattie McDaniel in the indie biopic, Behind the Smile.
McDaniel made history when she became the first African American ever to win an Oscar,
According to Deadline, Gregory Blair penned the screenplay of McDaniel, who famously played Mammy in 1939’s Gone With the Wind. The role earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, but even then, McDaniel was not allowed to sit in the audience with her peers during the segregated ceremony.
In the past, McDaniels faced criticism for her roles, even being shunned by the NAACP for perpetuating negative stereotypes. She remained defiant, famously quoted as saying: “I’d rather play a maid than be a maid.”
The NAACP disowned her for perpetuating negative stereotypes. Even after death, her Oscar, which she left to Howard University, was deemed valueless by appraisers and later went missing from the school — and has remained so for more than 40 years. Her final wish — to be buried in Hollywood Cemetery — was denied because of the color of her skin.
“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 recently starred in the Lifetime movie The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, the true story of the revered gospel group the Clark Sisters. She is also recognized for her roles in BET’s Being Mary Jane, Showtime’s SMILF, and Fox comedy feature, Snatched.