THE WIZ LIVE’S Queen Latifah Lands Lead Role in New Lee Daniels Music Pilot …

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Queen Latifah in Lee Daniel’s drama pilot.

Queen Latifah, fresh off a featured spot as the title character in NBC’s The Wiz Live!, has been cast in the lead role of Empire co-creator Lee Daniels’ new music pilot for Fox.Queen Latifah has scored the leading role in the Empire co-creator’s newest series that follows a trio of young women with big music dreams who form a group, Fox announced on Monday.

After open auditions, three newcomers were cast as the aspiring singers: Jude Demorest and Ryan Destiny, both from Detroit, Michigan, and Brittany O’Grady from Washington, DC. Queen Latifah will play Carlotta, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon who boasts an amazing voice and becomes a surrogate mother to the three girls — even though she doesn’t approve of their musical aspirations. Musician-actress Latifah starred in NBC’s live production of The Wiz last week and played the famed blues singer Bessie Smith in the Emmy-winning HBO movie, Bessie. Another Detroit resident, Ryan Destiny, was tapped for the role of Alexandra, a rich 20-year-old from the Upper East Side of New York City who yearns to make authentic music and leave her wealthy upbringing in the past. Demorest will play Star, the tough 18-year-old who spent her childhood in and out of foster homes after her mother’s death and who will do whatever it takes to become a true star.

The pilot, created, written and directed by Daniels, is the first project to emerge from the Oscar nominee’s overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. The network is not yet revealing details about the role, though the casting search announcement back in October described one character as “a half African-American and half Latina transgender woman with a stunning look.” The pilot deal was announced back in August.

Daniels is serving as the writer-director-executive producer of the pilot, which is being co-written by executive producer Tom Donaghy (The Whole Truth) and begins shooting this month in Atlanta. O’Grady rounds out the group as Simone, Star’s younger sister who dreams of the day Star will come back to rescue her from the abusive foster home in which she was placed five years before.

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