Marsai Martin and Omari Hardwick play to win in ‘Fantasy Football’



The new movie “Fantasy Football” takes advantage of the natural talent of a number of stars.

Marsai Martin channels a lot of girl-boss energy by playing Callie Coleman, a tech-savvy young woman whose father’s long career in the NFL lands him on the Atlanta Falcons team.

Her production company is behind the family-friendly film. (Martin, 18, set a Guinness World Record in 2020 as Hollywood’s youngest executive producer to work on a major production.)

She and costars Omari Hardwick (Bobby Coleman), Rome Flynn (Anderson Fisher), along with film director Anton Cropper, recently spoke to CNN when they appeared at a Falcons game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

It was a familiar environment because the group shot many scenes for their film there.

The plot revolves around Callie’s father, played by Hardwick, seemingly at the end of his career when his daughter discovers she can control his moves by playing the Madden football video game.

Martin sees the role where her character also befriends the robotics club team members at her new school as more than just fun with its positive message about diversity in technology.

“I’ve met so many girls who are into technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) or all about black girl coding,” she said. “It is important to shine a light on it because it is a very big problem. It’s all about representation.”

For Hardwick, the project gave him the chance to get to know his football roots.

Before becoming famous for his work in roles as James “Ghost” St. Patrick on “Power,” the Savannah, Georgia native played as a defensive back at the University of Georgia and later tried out with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free intermediary.

“It feels incredible to be back home here,” said Hardwick. “Obviously this is my hometown team… but I never got to play for the Falcons. I have to do my thing with this film.”

Hardwick also pointed out that it was appropriate for them to attend a game where the Atlanta Falcons played the Chicago Bears, since Rome Flynn, who plays Bobby Coleman’s rival, hotshot young quarterback Anderson Fisher, grew up in Chicago.

Flynn told CNN that unlike their characters, he and Hardwick had no competition between them as leading men.

“It’s all love,” he said, smiling. “We respect each other and we bring out the best in each other.”

“Fantasy Football” debuts Friday on Paramount+.

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