Marsai Martin Signs First Look Production Deal With Universal

Posted by at 5:13 pm on February 7, 2019

Marsai Martin, known for her breakout role on ABC’s Black-ish, and her Genius Productions company have signed a first-look production deal with Universal. She also stars in the upcoming feature Little. Martin will develop scripted projects for Universal alongside Joshua Martin (co-founder), Carol Martin (vice president) and Prince Baggett (head of creative).

Martin, who is 14 years old, is the youngest person to get a first-look deal at Universal, and the youngest person to get a deal at any studio in recent memory.

“Working with emerging talent is a cornerstone of Universal’s overall slate strategy, and Marsai is a star on the rise,” said Peter Cramer, president, Universal Pictures. “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.”

The first film being developed by Genius Productions is StepMonster, a comedy about a teenage girl (Martin) who is adjusting to life with a new stepmother and has to learn that sometimes the only way to tame a monster is to make peace with it (especially if the monster is you). While she may be young, Martin has had a busy career so far. She began working as an actress at the age of 5 and received her first major reoccurring role as Diane Johnson on Black-ish in 2014.

She became the youngest person to ever executive produce a studio film when she signed on to Universal’s Little, with fellow Universal-based producer Will Packer. Starring Regina Hall, Issa Rae and Martin, Little centers on a woman who gets the chance to relive the carefree life as her younger self (Martin) when the pressures of adulthood become too much. It hits theaters April 12.

“I am so excited for the magic I’ll be able to create and produce with Universal,” Martin said. “Mr. Cramer and Ms. [Donna] 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’s first-look deal brings her to the studio that has a history of inking pacts with diverse creators, including Packer, Malcolm D. Lee, Jordan Peele and Kevin Hart.

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