×

‘Black-ish’ Star Marsai Martin Signs First-Look Deal With Universal

Universal Pictures has signed a first-look deal with 14-year-old “Black-ish” star Marsai Martin and her Genius Productions company.

The first Genius Productions film under the deal is the comedy “StepMonster,” in which Martin will star as a teenager adjusting to life with a new stepmother.

Martin began working as an actress at the age of five and received her first major recurring role as Diane Johnson on “Black-ish” in 2014, portraying the twin sister to Miles Brown’s Jack. She stars in and executive produces her first film, the comedy “Little,” along with Regina Hall and Issa Rae. “Little” opens on April 12.

Martin will develop scripted projects for Universal alongside Genius Productions co-founder Joshua Martin, VP Carol Martin, and head of creative Prince Baggett.

“Working with emerging talent is a cornerstone of Universal’s overall slate strategy and Marsai is a star on the rise,” Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer said. “She is not only tremendously talented in front of the camera, but offers a unique perspective as a creator and producer that will resonate with all audiences. We look forward to moviegoers getting to see how brilliant she is in ‘Little’ and watching her evolve as a filmmaker here at Universal.”

Martin cited diversity efforts by Cramer and Donna Langley, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, in the announcement.

“I am so excited for the magic I’ll be able to create and produce with Universal,” Martin said. “Mr. Cramer and Ms. Langley’s commitment to investing in, and uplifting diverse and young voices is both refreshing and important, and I’m happy to be a part of that legacy. My goal is to show young women and girls that our voices and ideas matter and you are never too young to dream BIG!”

Martin is represented by WME and Meyer & Downs.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Laurence FishburneNational Memorial Day Concert Dress

    Laurence Fishburne to Produce 'Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' Series for Disney Channel

    Laurence Fishburne is stepping into the animation game. The “Matrix” star is set to executive produce “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur,” an animated series which has been given the greenlight at Disney Channel. Based on Marvel’s comic book series, the show hails from from Disney Television Animation and follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • 'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Joining Disney,

    'The Simpsons' Producers Talk Joining Disney, Potential Spinoff Series

    “The Simpsons” has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what [...]

  • 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to

    'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus

    Kermit, Miss Piggy and co. are coming to Disney Plus. A short-form unscripted series starring the goofy puppets is set to premiere on the forthcoming Disney streaming service in 2020. The news was announced at the Disney Plus D23 Expo event. The announcement came with a brief teaser of Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content