Lee Daniels appeared on the daytime talk show The Real on Tuesday to discuss his upcoming Fox show Star, a drama centering three talented singers who start a girl group. During his interview, the acclaimed producer and director revealed why he cast a white woman as the show's leading lady.
Although Daniels wasn't quite comfortable with labeling Jude Demorest, who will play Star Davis, as the "lead," he admitted it was a conscious decision to include a white character in the girl group because of the current racial tension in America. "In the beginning, [the story] is told through a white girl's perspective because I felt that the country instinctively, I thought needed to heal," he said. "And I think that this white girl is so fabulous that black people will embrace her and white people will embrace her."
But Daniels reassured the audience that the show has something for everyone. The drama will also include black and mixed-race characters (played by Ryan Destiny and Brittany O'Grady). Daniels said the multicultural aspect was done because he "thought that it was important to address race relations in America." "And I think that when we understand that we’re all one that [we will] then understand America. And America is still to be understood by us," he added.
Daniels also noted that the show's narrative was conceived well before Donald Trump was elected president, but that Star would do a good job of including commentary on social issues. "This was before our president was in. I felt that we were are at civil war. Black boys were being shot, and I didn't understand," he said. "So I wanted to explore politics, as I do with most of my work, what's going on right now in America. So we explore the excitement and the glamor of the evolution of a group weaved in with a little bit of what's happening now in the streets." While Empire, Daniels other successful Fox show, focuses on the road to "success and dynasty," Daniels stated Star will be similar to the 1970s feel-good show Good Times, "except with girls."
Star hails from the minds of Daniels and writer Tom Donaghy, who has credits on Without A Trace and The Whole Truth. In addition to the Demorest and other newcomers, the show will feature big names such as Queen Latifah, Tyrese, and Naomi Campbell. The show will also include guest appearances from Terrance Howard, Lenny Kravitz, and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta royalty Joseline Hernandez. Star is set to premiere on Fox on Dec. 14.