Marsai Martin’s latest film, Fantasy Football, is headed to Paramount+ just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday and is filled with the perfect recipe for this time of year — family and football!
Martin stars in the film and plays Callie Coleman, a football fanatic and robotic wizkid who soon discovers that she can magically control her NFL father Bobby’s (played by Omari Hardwick) football performance on the field through EA SPORTS Madden NFL 23.
Fantasy Football also stars Kelly Rowland who plays Keisha Coleman, mother, and wife to Martin and Hardwick’s characters, who not only supports her husband's football career and dissuades his in-house competition with his teammate Anderson Fisher (played by Rome Flynn) but is Martin’s cheerleader when it comes to her genius interests in not only her Madden video game but her high school robotics team.
The movie is produced in partnership with Martin’s Genius Entertainment company and The SpringHill Company's Emmy award-winning studio team founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
In an interview with BET.com, the cast chats about why Fantasy Football is the ultimate Thanksgiving treat, what it was like working with Martin, and more. See below:
BET.com: Marsai, Black teens in STEM are hugely represented in Fantasy Football, which has been a topic of conversation within the media for quite some time. Was it intentional for you to have your character Callie Coleman be interested in data, analytics, robotics, etc?
Marsai Martin: Oh, yeah, for sure. I wanted her to be a genius! Black girls in STEM are such a beautiful thing and it's a powerful thing. It just really tells a lot about how your mind works. I love shining a light on the amazing things that Black girls can do and are able to do. So yeah, I mean, it was a big deal for sure. I was really happy with that. You know, I think also balancing it out too. And being able to be smart and be in this world where, you know, you have school and all that and your accolades are strong but also playing Madden is fine
BET.com: Omari and Kelly, Bobby and Keisha Coleman in Fantasy Football, who are Marsai’s character's parents, is there anything that Marsai taught you on and off the camera during the course of filming? What was it like working with her?
Omari Hardwick: What I most learned from her is she’s really 18 years old [and really flying]. [And it’s like] ‘Whoever wants to fly me, I’m here for as long as you respect where I’m going, not where I’m at. She embraced her reality with such humility on set. There’s an embracing that I have struggled with. I definitely have not pushed away how gifted I am, I am super aware that I am gifted, and I’ve embraced the size that comes with that. Marsai has owned, if anything, that's probably what I’ve learned the most from her.
Kelly Rowland: She is truly a genius. She is Black Girl Magic. She is bold and no-nonsense and knows what she wants. She is 18 and there is this wisdom [within her] but there’s also an innocence. She’s incredible.
BET.com: Rome, you play Anderson Fisher, in Fantasy Football. The movie is coming out just in time for Thanksgiving, why do you think it's the perfect holiday film, especially for Black folks?
Rome Flynn: It’s a movie that is created by Black people starring a Black family. A lot of times you see films like this and it's centered around trauma. In Fantasy Football, we see a family that's healthy, aside from Bobby’s character trying to figure out his own issues. Marsai’s character is extremely talented and smart and Kelly's character is a nurse trying to go further in life and trying to push their family forward in a way where they can be closer.
Fantasy Football streams on Paramount+ on November 23.