Adorable “Black-ish” actress Marsai Martin has landed the lead role in Amazon’s upcoming American Girl live-action special, “Melody, 1963: Love Has to Win, an American Girl Story.”
Martin, who plays Diane in “Black-ish,” will star as Melody Ellison, a 10-year-old girl who becomes aware of the racial inequality around her, according to Deadline. Set in 1963 Detroit, Melody’s faith in her country begins to waver as she learns of the Civil Rights movement and the four little girls killed in the Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing. After some self-reflection, Martin’s character leans on her mom, who reminds her to always “stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary.”
Based on the original “American Girl” series by Denise Lewis Patrick, this adaptation is written by Alison McDonald, who also wrote an episode of the “Roots” revival. Common, Christopher Keenan and Melinda McCrocklin are also executive producers, in addition to McDonald. The film will also star Frances Fisher, Frankie Faison and Idara Victor.
The film is based on American Girl’s new Melody Ellison doll, which is part of its “BeForever” collection, which launched on Thursday.
To ensure “the historical accuracy and cultural authenticity” of Melody’s backstory, American Girl worked with a six-member advisory board who helped develop the doll itself, books, outfits, accessories, issues and story setting. The board included activist Julian Bond, Gloria House, Juanita Moore, Rebecca de Schweinitz, Thomas J. Sugrue and JoAnn Watson.
The Melody doll is available at retailers now starting at $115 for the doll and book. Amazon Video tweeted that “Melody, 1963: Love Has to Win, an American Girl Story” will premiere this fall.