Meet the cast of Roots

Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Matthew Goode and James Purefoy are all starring in this remake of the 1977 series

James Purefoy – John Waller

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Who does he play? John Waller is a tobacco plantation owner and Kunta’s new master. 

Where have I seen him before? James Purefoy starred alongside Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise. He played Rob in Episodes and Joe Carroll in The Following.


Matthew Goode – Dr William Waller

Who does he play? Dr William Waller is John Waller’s brother. William also owns a farm, as well as his brother’s debts – and he has a flirtation going on with his sister-in-law. 

Where have I seen him before? You most likely recognise Matthew as Henry Talbot from Downton Abbey. But he has an impressive CV, including everything from Death Comes to Pemberley to The Imitation Game to The Good Wife. 


Simona Brown – Jinna

Who does she play? Jinna is from Juffure, and is the woman Kunta has fallen for. She is also sold into slavery. 

Where have I seen her before? Simona Brown was Grace in The Night Manager. She’s also been in Him, Guilt, and The Casual Vacancy. 


Emayatzy Corinealdi – Belle 

Who does she play? Belle Waller (Bell in the book) is Dr Waller’s cook. While initially she is unimpressed by Kunta, she is won over and later becomes his wife. 

Where have I seen her before? She played Ava DuVernay in Middle of Nowhere (2012), picking up a ton of awards nominations, and also starred in Miles Ahead and Hand of God. 


E’myri Crutchfield – Young Kizzy

Who does she play? Kizzy is the daughter of Kunta and Belle. (In later episodes she will be played by Anika Noni Rose.)

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Where have I seen her before? In The Kicks as Zoe Knox, and Vacation as Sheila Peterson.