Samaritan College student Shantae Barnes-Cowan has hit the big time, being cast in the ABC drama Black B*tch (working title) alongside talented Australian actors Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths.
An aboriginal girl, Shantae starred in an advertisement for the Close the Gap campaign last year, which led to her debut in this six-part story of 'high stakes ambition, betrayal and treachery, playing out in the nation's capital'.
Filming for the TV series begun earlier this month and will take place on location and in studio in Sydney, Canberra, and central Queensland.
Shantae said she was 'really excited but nervous at the same time' to be cast for the drama.
"It's really amazing I've been able to see things I've never seen before. It's pretty cool," she said.
"It's fun playing a character that is different to myself."
Shantae said film star Deborah Mailman was 'really welcoming' to her.
"I watch her acting her scenes and I can really learn a lot from her," she said.
"Everyone on the cast and crew welcomed me with open arms."
The cast of Black B*tch (W/T) includes Harry Richardson (Poldark, Dr Thorne), William McInnes (Deep Water, Rake), Aaron Pedersen (Mystery Road, Jack Irish), Rob Collins (Secret City: Under The Eagle, Cleverman), Anthony Hayes (The Light Between Oceans, The Slap) , Celia Ireland (Wentworth), Trisha Morton-Thomas (Redfern Now, 8MMM), James Sweeny (The Secret Daughter, Brock), David Roberts (Offspring, Please Like Me), Luke Carroll (Black Comedy, Upright), Adele Perovic (The Code), and English actor Huw Higginson (Secret City, Janet King).
ABC Head of Indigenous Kelrick Martin says "Deborah Mailman is a national treasure, and we couldn't be prouder to be providing her with her first lead role in a TV series - it's a long overdue opportunity for her. Along with the rest of this incredible cast, we also want to give a huge cheer to the team at Blackfella Films, who are once again working incredibly hard to achieve this landmark show for ABC."
Darren Dale and Miranda Dear from Blackfella Films "It is testament to the power and relevance of this story that it has attracted such a stellar line-up of extraordinary actors. We are thrilled that Deborah Mailman has her first starring role in a major drama series and the chemistry between her and the inimitable Rachel Griffiths will be electrifying."
Penny Smallacombe, Head of Indigenous at Screen Australia says "The complex issues faced by the headstrong Indigenous female lead in Black B*tch (W/T) will push audiences to grapple with the harsh realities of both federal and community politics in Australia. With director Rachel Perkins and the renowned production team of Darren Dale and Miranda Dear at the helm, and Deborah Mailman and Rachel Griffiths leading this high-profile cast I'm sure this series will resonate when it premieres on ABC later this year."
Atar Dekel, KI's VP Global Drama says, "Black B*tch (W/T) is already a strong local story and this diverse roster of high calibre acting talent will really help us connect this series with audiences around the world. We are loving working collaboratively with the teams at Blackfella Films and ABC and are really happy that we chose to support Black B*tch (W/T) with the KI Content Fund."