Marsai Martin and Omari Harwick play to win on ‘Fantasy Football’


The new movie “Fantasy Football” takes advantage of the natural talent of some of its protagonists.

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

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

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

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

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

Marsai Martin as Callie Coleman and Omari Hardwick as Bobby Coleman

Martin sees the role, in which his character also befriends members of his new school’s robotics club team, as more than fun with its positive message about diversity in technology.

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

For Hardwick, the project gave him a chance to lean on his football roots.

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

“It feels amazing to be here at home,” Hardwick said. “This is obviously my hometown team … but I never got to play for the Falcons. With this movie, I got to do my thing.”

Hardwick also noted that it was fitting that he attended a game where the Atlanta Falcons were playing the Chicago Bears since Rome Flynn, who plays Bobby Coleman’s rival, young quarterback Anderson Fisher, grew up in Chicago.

Flynn told CNN that, unlike their characters, he and Hardwick had no competition with each other as leading men.

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

“Fantasy Football” premieres Friday on Paramount+.

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