Michael Kovac/Getty for Prime Video; Mike Coppola/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty
Abbi Jacobson had some big shoes to fill with her latest project.
The Emmy Award nominee, 38, spoke to PEOPLE about getting the late Penny Marshall‘s blessing for the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series reboot of her 1992 movie A League of Their Own on Saturday at a Cinespia screening for the original film‘s 30th anniversary.
“[Co-creator Will Graham] and I got a chance to talk to Penny Marshall on the phone,” she said. “It was really close to when she passed away, and we told her our whole idea and asked her a lot of questions about the film and she was just like, ‘Well, go do it already. Do it.’ She was excited about us doing it.”
The beloved actress and director is most known for helming the feminocentric baseball film inspired by the real women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which was formed out of the void left by male players going off to fight in World War II during the 1940s.
John Biever/Columbia/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock Penny Marshall on the set of A League of Their Own
Jacobson, who co-created and stars in the new series, spoke to both Marshall and the film’s star Geena Davis about the planned reboot. “It was pretty incredible,” she said.
“We wanted to get their blessing and wanted to make sure they knew how much we loved the original and how much we were not trying to remake the original. That this is none of the same characters.
“We are really … re-shifting focus and trying to tell the story of a generation of women who played baseball, and just get a chance to talk to them about what we loved about it and why we’re excited to do what we’re doing now,” Jacobson added.
Davis, 66, said of her own interaction with Jacobson: “She more or less wanted my blessing, which I was happy to give.”
Courtesy of Prime Video A League Of Their Own
Jacobson, who “played a lot of sports as a kid,” recalled seeing the film at a formative age. “As a young girl, I was so taken and I was on a lot of teams, and just the spirit of the film and that humor. It felt very alive and energetic, and I just was very into that and felt I hadn’t seen it before,” she said.
Her costar D’Arcy Carden echoed the sentiment: “I’d never seen a female sport centric show or movie. And so, the whole thing was new to me and I was really wrapped up in it,” she explained. “I was like, ‘I want to do that.’ I just remember feeling, ‘I want to be in there somehow.’”
Chanté Adams, who was born two years after the film premiered, was most impacted by the scene that ultimately inspired her character along with Toni Stone, Connie Morgan and Mamie Johnson — three Black women who played for the Negro American League as they weren’t allowed in the AAGPBL.
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“I remember the one iconic scene of that Black woman that throws the ball to Geena Davis and being like, ‘Oh my God. Somebody that looks like me.’ And that was an iconic moment for me,” she recalled.
A League of Their Own premieres August 12 on Amazon Prime Video.