Geraldine Viswanathan snags a heaven sent role in ‘Miracle Workers’
Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan in ‘Miracle Workers’
When Geraldine Viswanathan graduated from the Hunter School of Performing Arts, she could not have imagined she would go on to co-star with Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi in a US TV series.
Or, for that matter, that she would join Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in a movie about the biggest public school embezzlement scandal in US history.
Dreams have come true for the Newcastle-raised actress, now 23, whose father is an Indian-born doctor and her mother is Swiss.
In her US TV series debut Geraldine plays an angel named Eliza in Miracle Workers, a seven-part series commissioned by the TBS network which premieres on Stan on February 13, the same day as the US.
Based on Simon Rich’s book What In God’s Name, the comedy follows Radcliffe as Craig, a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity’s prayers.
Buscemi is Craig’s boss God. To prevent Earth’s destruction, Craig and Eliza must answer a seemingly impossible prayer: help two humans, Laura and Sam (Sasha Compere, Jon Bass), fall in love.
The actress initially tried out for the part of Laura but was then asked to audition for Eliza. She nailed the role after a chemistry read with Radcliffe.
She describes her character, who was promoted to the ‘Department of Prayer Response’ after 500 years of diligently sorting billions of human prayers in heaven’s mail room, as bold and reckless.
Thrilled at the chance to work with Radcliffe and Buscemi, she says: “It was inspiring to watch two of the world’s finest actors. They are so down-to-earth and generous.”
Miracle Workers is an anthology so the producers hope to use the same cast as different characters with new storylines if the series is renewed.
Viswanathan made her big screen debut in Neil Triffett’s EMO The Musical in 2016. The following year she snagged her first recurring TV role as Bonnie Mahesh in the ABC’s Janet King.
A finalist for Australians in Film’s Heath Ledger Scholarship, she scored her US breakthrough in director Kay Cannon’s comedy Blockers alongside Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena. She played Kayla, a laid-back girl who joins her best friends’ plans to lose their virginity on prom night.
In Jake Szymanski’s dark comedy The Package, which screens on Netflix, she played one of the friends of a teenager (Eduardo Franco) who accidentally cuts off his penis during a camping trip. His chums rush to save the appendage before it’s too late.
She showed her dramatic chops as the lead in writer-director Minhal Baig’s Hala as a 17-year-old in her senior year of high school who starts to develop feelings for her classmate Jesse (Jack Kilmer).
Raised in a conservative Muslim household by her parents, her yearnings are at odds with her traditional upbringing. At the same time she finds herself grappling with the knowledge of a secret that threatens to unravel her family.
Apple acquired worldwide rights to the film for its upcoming streaming service after it got rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.
The actress has been living in New York since she filmed director Cory Finley’s Bad Education with Jackman and Janney. In the movie scripted by Mike Makowsky, based on events which happened at his high school, she plays the editor of the school’s newspaper who uncovers the story.
After experiencing racial typecasting and being told she could not play Australians earlier in her career, she is heartened to see growing diversity on screen.
“We are meeting the demand from people who are tired of seeing the same stories and the people who tell them,” she says. “It’s happening slowly, but it’s changing.”