After a year of commanding performances, first as the lead in HBO’s Bessie Smith biopic and then with the title role of NBC’s recent live production of The Wiz, Queen Latifah has yet another small-screen role in the works. Deadline reports that the MC/actor has been cast in Lee Daniels’s untitled new Fox pilot, which will center on the story of a girl group trying to make it in Atlanta’s music scene.
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Latifah will play Carlotta, the owner of a beauty salon (a setting she’s previously encountered through her work in the Barbershop franchise) who serves as the group’s reluctant mentor. Of course, her own musical talents will come into play as well.
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Although so far, the pilot seems indelibly connected to Fox’s (and Daniels’s) current hit music business drama Empire, the network has made it clear that this is not a spin-off. “The possibility of a crossover at some point exists but it’s definitely not what we’re planning right now,” said Fox chairman and CEO Dana Walden over the summer, adding, “It’s a modern day music business in Atlanta, and Empire is modern day music business in New York. It’s not inconceivable that the two worlds could cross. But that’s definitely not Lee’s intention as we go into it.”