ABC’s “Still Star-Crossed” stars Wade Briggs as Benvolio, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline & Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus
Written by Heather Mitchell, and based on the book by Melinda Taub,
the “Romeo & Juliet” sequel is titled “Still Star-Crossed” and is
set in 16th century Verona, picking up where Shakespeare’s original work
ended. It chronicles the treachery, palace intrigue and
ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the
young lovers’ tragic fate.
The story centers on Rosaline (Lynch), described as a beautiful, intelligent and headstrong Capulet and Juliet’s cousin. Following the death of her parents, Rosaline is taken in by her aunt and uncle, Juliet’s parents Lady and Lord Capulet, and forced to work as a servant. She does her best to tolerate her aunt’s cruelty, and focuses on finding a way to free herself of the humiliation. She is eventually ordered to marry Benvolio (male lead Wade Briggs), a Montague.
“I’m going to be totally honest with you, I completely deserve this,” Shonda Rhimes said after receiving the Producer Guild Association’s Norman Lear Award for Achievement in Television Saturday night. “I have against the odds, courageously pioneered the art of writing for people of color as if they were human beings. I’ve bravely gone around just casting parts for actors who were the best ones. I fearlessly faced down ABC when they completely agreed with me that Olivia Pope should be black. And I raised my sword heroically and then put it down again when Paul Lee never fought me about any of my storytelling choices.” The delivery of her speech may have been tongue-in-cheek, but as the solo female recipient of the award, Rhimes had good reason to leave self-deprecation at the door.
Rhimes went on to make the larger point that she had not created a new vision for television, but simply insisted on depicting the world as she sees it. “There was no blazing and no trails,” said Rhimes. “It’s not trailblazing to write the world as it actually is. Women are smart and strong. They are not sex toys or damsels in distress. People of color are not sassy or dangerous or wise. And, believe me, people of color are never anybody’s sidekick in real life.”
Here are a few more highlights from her speech:
Taking other producers to task for not making more diverse shows:
“I created the content that I wanted to see and I created what I know is normal. So basically, you are giving me an award for being me, in which case I totally deserve it. Really, I am honored to receive it. The respect of this award does mean the world. It just makes me a little bit sad. First of all, strong women and three dimensional people of color is something Norman [Lear] was doing 40 something years ago. So how come it has to be done all over again? What are we waiting for? I mean, I know this is a room full of producers, so probably you’re waiting for money.”
I am so happy that she took full ownership of that award. Hell yes she deserves it. You can read more snippets of the speech @ the link.