The actress behind The Station Agent and Lovely & Amazing and starred as Ivy Wentz on Good Luck Charlie, Raven Goodwin has been cast as legendary actress Hattie McDaniel in Indie Biopic Behind the Smile. McDaniel is the first African American ever to win an Oscar.
McDaniel made a name for herself when she famously played Mammy in 1939’s Gone With The Wind. For that role, she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; however, during the segregated ceremony, she was not permitted to sit with her peers. She played in more than 300 films, and she had her own radio show series called Beulah.
The most recent portrayal of McDaniel came from singer, rapper, actress, producer, and songwriter Queen Latifah in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix miniseries, Hollywood.
McDaniel’s career has been characterized by bigotry and racial discrimination even amongst the Black community, including the NAACP when she would take on a stereotypical maid or slave roles. She received criticism on all sides, but that didn’t stop her from making a vast impact in Hollywood. At the age of 57, she died from breast cancer in 1952.
“Raven Goodwin is such a phenomenal talent and a gift to this project,” said Jami McCoy-Lankford of Hillionaire Productions. “In our first meeting on Zoom, she already showed the kind of passion that is befitting such a complex and Iconic character as Hattie McDaniel was.”
Goodwin added, “Hattie YOU did it. Because of your legacy, we are able to write and portray OURSELVES in whatever light we choose. I am forever honored. I look forward to bringing this important historical and relevant life story to the screen.”
Gregory Blair wrote the inspirational story of McDaniel for the biopic.