Anton Cropper on directing ‘Fantasy Football,’ working with Marsai Martin, and more

The director sat down with us to talk about his brand new film and how he hopes 'Fantasy Football' will reach viewers from ages 8 to 80.

“Fantasy Football” is here. The brand new family film produced by and starring Marsai Martin has hit Paramount+ just in time for the holidays, and theGrio caught up with director Anton Cropper to break down the new project and how it came to be.

As theGrio previously reported, “Fantasy Football” is a mix of fantasy and family film, following Callie A. Coleman (Martin), who soon discovers she can control her NFL player father on the field while playing a football video game. Kelly Rowland and Omari Hardwick join the cast as her parents in a film Cropper and Martin both state is “made for ages 8-80.” The release around the holidays is an intentional decision, one Cropper hopes can bring families together, he explained to theGrio.

"Fantasy Football" Premiere & Event
Director Anton Cropper arrives at the “Fantasy Football” Premiere & Event at Paramount Studios, Sherry Lansing Theatre on November 17, 2022, in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Paramount+)

“We’re at that time now where families are gathering and it is very much a family film—but also it’s more than just that,” he told us. “It’s a sum of its parts. We set out to make something that is cinematic and big and had big set pieces in it. Some of these family films can feel kind of small and we wanted to make sure this had something for everyone.”

“It has action in it; it’s set in the world of football but it’s not a football movie,” he explained. “It has a gaming component to it but it’s not a gaming film. It has robotics in it but that supports our friendships; it’s not a robotics film. What it ultimately is, is just a good comedy. It’s a good, funny movie that you feel good about.”

He added, “It’s a realization that sometimes just being you and being present is enough.”

Cropper went on to speak to the age range he and the cast and crew hope the movie will touch, citing the aforementioned “8 to 80” age range. “One of my big goals was to really make this an ‘8 to 80’ film, meaning it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 years old [or] 80 years old,” he continued. “You can sit down and at the end of the day, you’ll still walk away with that same feeling.”

Recalling the New York and Los Angeles premieres of the movie, Cropper spoke of his firsthand experience watching audiences see his film for the first time. “It’s a fantastic feeling when you have little kids there—5 years old, 6 years old that are laughing through the whole movie. Then my mom was there; she just turned 80 this year and she’s laughing through the whole movie and everyone in between.”

“Fantasy Football” is streaming now on Paramount+.

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