Actress Grace Byers, whose Empire character was killed off in that series’ season finale last month, will join the cast of Fox’s The Gifted when the Marvel drama returns in the fall for its second season, Fox says. She’ll play Reeva, described by the network as “a smart, charming, authoritative, elegant, beautiful woman who is ruthless in her efforts to fight for her people.”
“She leads an elite band of followers and has a soft spot for her new recruits,” said Fox in a statement, “but is still capable of extreme violence in defense of her vision.”
Byers’ character will team up with Emma Dumont’s Polaris, Percy Hynes White’s Andy Strucker and the telekinetic Frost sisters played by Skyler Samuels.
Byers, known professionally as Grace Gealy before marrying her Empire co-star Trai Byers in 2016, appeared on stage Off Broadway and in Chicago before being cast as Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) nemesis Anika Calhoun on Empire. Last year, Byers appeared in the indie thriller Bent as a jazz singer.
This year, Byers authored NYT bestselling children’s book I Am Enough (HarperCollins, with illustrations by Keturah A. Bobo), inspired by her own childhood as a multiracial girl and hearing child of deaf adults.
Fox’s The Gifted returns on Tuesdays this fall. Set within the X-Men universe, the series from writer Matt Nix focuses on a suburban couple (Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker) whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on the run from a hostile government, the family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.
The Gifted is produced by 20th Century Fox Television in association with Marvel Television. The series got off to a controversial start when exec producer Bryan Singer, who directed the pilot episode, became embroiled in a sexual assault lawsuit (not connected to the series).
Byers is represented by The Gersh Agency, Principal Entertainment, Vision PR and attorney Erik Hyman.