Lexi Underwood, the impressive newcomer who delivered her own acting performance to remember next to Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon’s masterful ones in Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere, is the latest young Black star to be tapped by Disney to play a modern-day princess.
Underwood will star in an upcoming pop/hip-hop movie adaptation of Cinderella from Disney dubbed Sneakerealla, reports Deadline. The 17-year-old has been cast alongside NBA star-turned actor John Salley, who will play her character’s sneaker tycoon father, and Chosen Jacobs, another upcoming young Black actor in Hollywood.
The film will be set in New York and take some bits of magical inspiration from the classic Cinderella story, while featuring some “incredible music and gravity-defying choreography” according to Disney.
Described as a pop/hip-hop musical that leaves a sneaker culture imprint on the Cinderella fairy tale, Sneakerella is set in the avant-garde street-sneaker subculture of New York City. It introduces El (Jacobs), an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who works as a stock boy in the shoe store that once belonged to his late mother. El hides his artistic talent from his overburdened stepfather and two mean-spirited stepbrothers who constantly stomp on any opportunity that comes his way. When El meets Kira King (Underwood), the fiercely independent daughter of legendary basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King (Salley), sparks fly as the two bond over their mutual affinity for sneakers. With a little nudge from his best friend and a sprinkle of Fairy Godfather magic, El finds the courage to use his talent to pursue his dream of becoming a ‘legit’ sneaker designer in the industry.
Underwood hopped on Twitter to celebrate her entry into the Disney canon:
“Disney’s got another Black princess y’all,” said Underwood, likely making reference to the fact that other young queens in the industry have secured headline roles in adaptations of iconic Disney stories.
Last month it was announced that Yara Shahidi of Black-ish fame will play Tinkerbell in Disney’s live-action telling of Peter Pan. Halle Bailey, of the sister singing duo Chloe x Halle, was also memorably cast last year as Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action reboot of The Little Mermaid.
Sneakerella is currently in production and is set to premiere on Disney+ in 2021.