×

‘The Red Line’ Star on Tearful Train Depot Confrontation With Noah Wyle

In her first series regular role, Aliyah Royale had to run the gamut of emotions. Starting with the initial episode of “The Red Line,” her character, Jira, loses one of her fathers to gun violence and decides she wants to meet her birth mother. The latter decision draws disapproval from her other father (Noah Wyle), culminating in a tearful confrontation. Royale dug deep to find the initial anger and eventual pain behind her character’s actions and found she learned a lot about herself in the process.

Royale: “This was literally the first pilot audition I got of the season. The audition scene I got was the one where Jira tells her father the shooting never would have happened to him and that she needs her birth mother. Seeing this girl be so powerful and knowing, ‘This is not right. This is what I need to be myself again,’ I was like, ‘Finally! A teenage girl who knows what she wants and doesn’t need someone else to tell her.’

“I knew I needed to show someone who was broken, but who was not satisfied with being in that place. She’s only 17 and she’s still a student, but regardless, it was important for her to not just let life happen to her, but to take it into her own hands. I’ve felt that a lot in my own life, especially trying to be something significant in the industry when I’m only 19.

“The scene when Jira said she wanted to meet her birth mother came up towards the end of the pilot process, and it was sort of the elephant in the room. In that scene, Jira is specifically vulnerable; she’s trying, in so many words, to say, ‘Things aren’t all right and this is the only thing I can think of to make things all right.’ The only thing she can do is ask for her birth mother. She’s thought about it for months — she has this folder of information concerning her adoption — this isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, and so I had to think of it as it’s been on her heart for a very long time. I don’t think Jira realized the capacity to which it would affect her father, but she knew it was something she needed to feel whole and to feel like a person again.

“Once we’d blocked it, rehearsed it and gone off to let the crew light and do their thing, I needed isolation. I think isolation is the most vulnerable time for people, and so I like to be by myself for a little bit before the scene starts. Then when we’re ready to go, I’m in it and I just really think of the character as myself and really put myself in Jira’s shoes. It felt natural. I don’t think I’ve ever had a role in my career that I identify with as much as Jira.

“We were very candid on set and we shared a lot just to help everyone understand where they were coming from with these roles, and the director of the pilot, Victoria Mahoney, told us to use everything. And it was the most freeing thing in the world. When you are telling real stories that you hope create real change and real conversations for people, you have to be honest with yourself. I was not as honest with myself as Jira is in this point in her life. To come out of that with a new vision of myself and what I want and how I want to affect people and change, Jira did that all for me.”

More TV

  • Pictured: Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard

    'Star Trek: Picard': TV Review

    “Star Trek: Picard,” the latest entry in an ever-regenerating franchise, eventually gets going. That it does so more tentatively than boldly may, at first, be a test of individual viewers’ loyalty to the “Trek” universe and to its most famous captain. “Picard’s” great asset is its title character — as played by Sir Patrick Stewart, [...]

  • NBC Sky World News Plots Summer

    NBC Sky World News Plots Summer Launch

    The company known for American news staples like “Today” and “Meet The Press” wants to create similar journalism landmarks for audiences around the world. NBCUniversal and Sky, both owned by parent Comcast Corp., will this summer launch NBC Sky World News, a news service aimed at English-speaking audiences around the globe. The company intends to [...]

  • 'Vikings': Katheryn Winnick on Directing the

    'Vikings’s' Katheryn Winnick Breaks Down Directing the 'Start of Bjorn's Downfall'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Valhalla Can Wait,” the eighth episode of the sixth season of “Vikings.” When “Vikings” creator Michael Hirst came to terms with killing off the fan-favorite Lagertha character, he knew he wanted to bring portrayer Katheryn Winnick back into the creative fold at least once more [...]

  • Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 22/01/2020 -

    Tartikoff Honorees Call for Commitment to Diversity and Protection of Press Freedom

    MIAMI — Jeff Zucker didn’t mince words. “Nothing is as important than what I’m doing now,” the CNN Worldwide chief said of his long career in media as he was feted Wednesday night as one of five Brandon Tartikoff Award honorees. Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide and chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, sounded the [...]

  • Greta Gerwig, Ava DuVernay Urge Changes

    Greta Gerwig, Ava DuVernay Among Directors Urging Changes in DGA Parental Policies

    Greta Gerwig, Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon and more than 40 other women directors are urging the Directors Guild of America to change its policies for new and expectant parents. The directors have co-signed a letter by documentary filmmaker Jessica Dimmock seeking an extension of the qualifying period for DGA health insurance coverage to 18 months [...]

  • NBC Orders Drama Pilots 'Echo,' 'At

    NBC Orders Drama Pilots 'Echo,' 'At That Age'

    NBC has picked up two more drama pilots for the 2020-2021 season. Universal Television will produce both pilots. The first is titled “At That Age.” It is described as an exploration of an African-American family’s legacy. After the Cooper family’s golden child suffers a catastrophic event, seven family members face a foundational shift, make life-altering [...]

  • Tom Papa Netflix special

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Reveals Premiere Date for Tom Papa's Standup Special

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for “Tom Papa: You’re Doing Great!” and Quibi unveiled the title and artwork for its upcoming series starring Liam Hemsworth and Christophe Waltz.  DATES “Tom Papa: You’re Doing Great!” will launch globally on Feb. 4, Netflix announced. The veteran comedian aims to remind viewers to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content