Black-ish star Marsai Martin, 14, is set to become the youngest ever executive producer of a major Hollywood film with the debut of Universal Pictures’ Little on April 12. Martin did not only executive produce Little, she also features plays the role of bullying tech mogul Jordan, who struggles to adjust to middle-school life after magically becoming trapped in the body she had when she was 13 years old.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Martin said she pitched her concept for a female-focused twist on Tom Hanks’s 1980s smash hit Big to Black-ish creator Kenya Barris when she was just 10 years old. By producing and creating her own content, she explained, she hopes to diversify her future opportunities beyond just her role in the popular TV sitcom.
“How do we create longevity for her? What we didn’t want is the next Urkel,” said Martin’s mother, Carol Martin, referring to the character played by Jaleel White in the 1990s sitcom Family Matters.
Martin, for her part, is already enjoying the expanded freedom of her new roles as both an actress and a producer. Auditioning fellow kids to play her classmates in the film, for instance, was a surreal experience.
“They didn’t see me as an actress. They saw me as the person who created the thing they were auditioning for,” she recalled. “I almost cried. It was the coolest thing.”
Interested in women in comedy? Come to the 10th annual Women in the World Summit and hear more about it from the panel, “You Can’t Take a Joke” on April 11. Learn more about the summit here, and get your tickets here.