On the heels of her title role in The Wiz Live, Queen Latifah has signed on for a starring role in another music-themed project, Fox’s untitled pilot from Empire co-creator Lee Daniels (aka Star). The pilot, which launched a nationwide open casting call for its young leads, also has locked in actresses/singers to play the three girls whose stories will be at the center of the drama series — up-and-comers Jude Demorest (Dallas), Ryan Destiny (Low Winter Sun) and Brittany O’Grady (The Messengers).
Co-created and co-written Daniels by Tom Donaghy and directed by Daniels, the pilot follows three young women (Demorest, Destiny, O’Grady), who form a girl group with hopes of making it big in the music industry, and the choices with which they’re faced along the way. Queen Latifah anchors the cast as Carlotta, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon, with an amazing voice, who will become a surrogate mother to the three girls – even though she doesn’t approve of their musical dreams.
Demorest, from Detroit, MI, has landed the role of Star, the tough 18-year-old who spent her childhood in and out of foster homes after the death of her mother, and who will do anything to become the star she was named to be. Destiny, also from Detroit, MI, has been cast as Alexandra, the wealthy 20-year-old who grew up on New York’s Upper East Side, but who, for years, has tried to put her privileged world behind her, so she can make real, authentic music. O’Grady, from Washington, DC, will play Simone, Star’s younger sister who dreams of the day Star will return to rescue her from the abusive foster home in which she was placed five years before. Together, the three will chase their dreams of making it big in the glamorous but cut-throat Atlanta music scene.
Donaghy and Daniels executive produce the project, from 20th Century Fox TV, which begins production this month in Atlanta, GA.
The untitled pilot is the first project to come from Daniels’ multi-year overall deal with 20th TV. Pamela Oas Williams and Effie Brown also executive produce.
O’Grady is repped by the Osbrink Agency and Suskin Management. Demorest is with Defining Artists Talent Agency and Gordon Gilbertson Entertainment. Destiny is repped by Primary Wave Entertainment and Coast to Coast.