American Violet is loosely based on the real life story of the Panhandle Regional Narcotics Task Force case in Texas. Dozens of residents, mostly African Americans, were arrested on charges of selling cocaine. The film focuses on Dee Roberts, a mother of four, portrayed by Nicole Beharie. Dee’s character is based on Regina Kelly, who was one of the many residents falsely arrested in Hearne, Texas.
The movie has been receiving some pretty good reviews. I’m glad to see that whoever cast this film didn’t go the usual Hollywood route when it comes to black actresses by hiring some r&b singer for the leading female role if you know what I mean. As a matter of fact they cast a newcomer in the leading role of Dee Roberts. You know this is a rare moment for a black actress who’s also a Julliard graduate.
Check out an interview with Nicole Beharie at Beliefnet.com and an interview with Regina Kelly and American Violet writer Bill Haney at HollywoodChicago.