Lee Daniels is well aware that when his newest Fox series, Star, premieres Wednesday, Dec. 14, many comparisons will be made to his hit show, Empire. But that is expected. When news hit about the series, which stars three young newcomers, it was billed as an Empire spinoff, but that’s definitely not the case.
Star tells the story of three female singers trying to make it in the music business, and yes, it’s a tribute to some of Daniels’ favorite films. The series tells the story of Star (Jude Demorest) who is determined to make her voice heard. Star teams up with her sister Simone (Brittany O’Grady) and Alexandra (Ryan Destiny), a girl she met on Instagram, to start the ultimate girl group.
“The show is called Star, but it’s not all about Star. It’s my tribute to Dreamgirls, Valley of the Dolls and Paris Is Burning. The ‘in’ for the first episode is Star. Just like the ‘in’ for Empire was Cookie,” Daniels tells The Root on the Atlanta set.
But, of course, starting this girl group isn’t as easy as Star thinks. The obstacles she’s met with include an abusive relationship in her home environment, and trying to get her sister and friend to actually like each other. As with Empire, Daniels and his own road to fame and Hollywood play out on the screen.
“We always talk about my life through Empire and that’s sort of like my family. But this is about what happened when I left home and went into Hollywood and what it’s like growing up in Hollywood pre-Spike Lee era, and what I would do and had to do to find success in this business. These girls are indicative of that. It’s about finding my way, and ultimately finding family and success happened,” Daniels says.
When it came to casting for the series, Daniels wanted new faces, and he enlisted the help of his sister, casting director Leah Daniels, to find the girls.
“I enjoy finding stars. Puffy’s [Sean Combs] first movie was Monster’s Ball. I love new actors and mixing them in with the pros. My sister is my casting director, and over the years, I’ve learned to give Leah the script as I’m writing it. And she’s off finding people simultaneously,” Daniels says.
Source: The Root | YESHA CALLAHAN