She’s taken a few months to let it sink in.
Royale snagged her role as Jira Calder-Brennan in the CBS drama “The Red Line.” The series airs at 8 p.m. Sundays.
Not only is it her first leading role, but it also gave her a chance to work with producer Greg Berlanti, director Ava DuVernay and actor Noah Wyle.
“When I got the audition, working for Greg and Ava would be an insane experience,” Royale says. “I was worried about the series being a procedural, but when I read the script, it was a real story and it was genuine.”
The series follows three Chicago families after an unarmed African American doctor is shot by a white police officer.
The tragedy causes the families to consider how race and racial biases affect their lives.
The title itself refers to one of the train lines that transverse Chicago and stands as a metaphor for this diverse but segregated American city.
Wyle plays Daniel Calder, the widower of the African American doctor who was shot.
Together, the couple had adopted an African American daughter, Jira, played by Royale, now a teenager, who is searching for her birth mother, played by Emayatzy Corinealdi.
“Jira is searching for her mother because she’s someone who can relate to growing up as a black woman,” Royale says. “Jira is a force of nature and has this strength. She’s going to become a doctor like one of her dads. After her father is gunned down, she’s opened up to this world of race and she loses the identity. She’s lived a very sheltered life in Chicago.”
Noel Fisher plays the white officer who shot the doctor, and throughout the series he struggles with what he has done.
Showrunners Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss are known for addressing modern-day conflicts by way of their art and humanizing real-world issues.
The series is inspired by their play “A Twist of Water,” which addresses the issues of racism and police brutality.
“The material is serious and deep,” Royale says. “It’s presented in a grounded and honest way. It felt very natural and easy to get into Jira’s shoes. The series is all about the journey of each character. It’s about figuring yourself out. I wanted to put my entire heart into this role and worked hard to match how wonderful Noah was in the series. I learned a lot about myself and acting from part of this show.”
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