Aussie actress cast in Roots-inspired drama

Viva Bianca has joined the cast of Showing Roots, a US feature set in the 1970s when Alex Haley’s ground-breaking slavery miniseries Roots was released.

Now shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the indie film stars Taken’s Maggie Grace, Orange Is The New Black’s Uzo Aduba, Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern and Cicely Tyson, who played Kunta Kinte’s mother in Roots.

Scripted by Susan Batten and directed by stage veteran Michael Wilson, Showing Roots is set in a small Southern town in 1977.

Grace and Aduba play Violet and Pearl, two women who work in a beauty parlour and are inspired to integrate their community when pent-up racial tensions erupt.

Bianca, whose credits include John V. Soto's The Reckoning, Jon Hewitt’s Turkey Shoot remake and X, and Spartacus: Blood and Sand, portrays Dee, the uneducated owner of the local diner, who has an awakening during the social upheaval.

Tyson is cast as Hattie, Pearl’s grandmother, with McGovern as Shirley, the owner of the beauty parlour and Adam Brody as Bud, an engineer who comes to town to fix a bridge.

A WAAPA graduate, Bianca is the co-founder of online pop-culture feminist magazine SheRa Mag. She said, “In light of my gender equality activism, having the opportunity to work on an ensemble-cast film, which tells the story of the coming together of black and white women in a small Southern  community in the mid 70s, is particularly special for me."