WATCH: Issa Rae and Marsai Martin discuss the ‘voice’ in their new film ‘Little’
TheGrio kiki'd with "Little" leading ladies Issa Rae and Marsai Martin about the fictional Alexa meets Cardi B smart device with the voice of Tracee Ellis Ross.
HomeGirl, is a lit virtual assistant and Regina Hall‘s character’s only friend in the upcoming Will Packer body-switch comedy also starring Marsai Martin and Issa Rae.
TheGrio kiki’d with the flicks leading ladies about the fictional Alexa meets Cardi B smart device voiced by the incomparable Tracee Ellis Ross.
“Okay, let’s keep it PG?!” exclaimed 14-year-old Martin, when asked what the artificially intelligent bestie would say to inspire her in the morning.
After a roll of chuckles filled the room, 34-year-old Rae, inquisitively chimed, “so, what would it be Marsai?!”
“I can’t say,” shared the Black-ish star. “…I’m thinking of my mom and that sensor thing.”
Without missing a comedic beat Rae continued:
“HomeGirl would tell me, ‘get off your phone and go exercise!’ Because sometimes you need someone to hold you accountable. [Marsai you’re fine right now]. But I need to get up and workout. She’d be like, ‘come on gurrrl!'”
HomeGirl is a dangerous, smart-home gadget with an attitude that hears everything you say and reacts but has the personality and voice of an empowered Black woman.
“HomeGirl says and does it all!” confessed comedic actress Regina Hall.
She would tell me, [sassily] ‘don’t hit snooze again!'” The mocha colored mannequin head shaped speaker with pineapple waves is an affirmation machine for African American women who need words of encouragement and unsolicited audacious advice.
Little is also the first executive producing credit for Hall, who was thoroughly impressed by her teen co-star (who is also now the youngest person in Hollywood to ever produce a movie.)
“At 14, I wasn’t boy crazy,” explained the D.C. native. “But I certainly wasn’t thinking about…[creating movies]. I had a strict mother there was no room to be a bad girl. My mom was like, ‘there is one woman in this house, and I was like, ‘ohhh, okay.’ The hierarchy was established when I was very young.”
Although Rae’s Hollywood break bloomed later, she explains how incredible it is to see Martin doing what she loves so early on in her career.
“I wasn’t doing as much as her, but I had dreams,” commented the Stanford graduate. “At 11, I wrote scripts and sent them to networks but got rejected. So to hear at 10-years-old, she had this concept and pitched it to blockbuster producer Packer is amazing and inspiring. There isn’t a lot of young Black girl representation, so when young Black girls hear about Marsai pitching this film, they will think, ‘Wow! Maybe I can do it too.'”
Hollywood has plenty of body-swap comedies, but Martin noticed an obvious cultural gap. “None of those pictures were about Black girls,” detailed the Texas native. “I wanted to create something where I would see more of myself and what I looked like. There aren’t a lot of little Black girls with glasses in movies.”
The NAACP Image Award winners’ confidence, drive, and commitment to hard work have always been a part of her routine, according to her parents.
“When Marsai was about 8-years old, she asked me what a legend is,” beamed her mom, Carol Martin. “I explained it to her and later on at a ‘For Your Consideration’ event for Black-ish. They asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up…She said, ‘a legend.'”
Universal Pictures’ Little leaps into theaters April 12th.