Queen Latifah to headline Empire co-creator Lee Daniels' new music drama pilot | EW.com


Queen Latifah to headline Empire co-creator Lee Daniels' new music drama pilot

( Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Lee Daniels’ new music drama doesn’t have a title yet, but it now has a cast.

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.

The Emmy and Grammy winner — who just starred in NBC’s The Wiz Live! — will play Carlotta, a beauty salon owner in Atlanta with an impressive voice who will serve as a surrogate mother to these three girls “even though she doesn’t approve of their musical dreams.”

A national search was held to find the three actresses to play the women in the girl group that hopes to conquer the Atlanta music scene. Jude Demorest of Detroit has been cast as Star, an extremely driven 18-year-old who went from foster home to foster home after her mother died. 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.

Brittany O’Grady, from Washington, D.C., 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.”

Fox also confirmed on Monday that Amiyah Scott, a transgender actress, has been cast in the pilot as well. 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 co-creator/executive producer Tom Donaghy (The Whole Truth) and begins shooting this month in Atlanta.