Meet the Regal Cast of the New Shondaland Drama 'Still Star-Crossed'
Romeo’s boozing, whoring cousin should be avoided at all costs—if, that is, he weren’t so damn endearing. “Benvolio is the future of the Montagues but wants nothing to do with their opulence and arrogance,” says Briggs. Benvolio also detests being forced to wed Juliet’s cousin, Rosaline (Lashana Lynch), to help foster peace. But, Briggs notes, “he’s secretly attracted to her. The sparks between them are undeniable.”
Maid in Italy
Her life was shattered when her parents died and now—Cinderella style—Rosaline is forced to clean house for her posh relatives. But that’s not the worst of it. “Being betrothed to Benvolio is a nightmare,” Lynch says. “She wants Escalus, and in an ideal world she’d marry him, but if the prince is caught looking at Rosaline with even a smidgen of love, it would be a royal scandal!”
So Not Ready
“Escalus comes to power at a very dark moment and is trying his best to end the family war,” Mitchell says of the naive new ruler of Verona. “But will he sacrifice his personal happiness for the city he loves?” That would be yes. Escalus reluctantly arranges the marriage of Benvolio and Rosaline, even though he’s deeply in love with the bride-to-be.
When the prince of Verona dies, the crown falls to his son, Escalus (Sterling Sulieman), even though daughter Isabella is the one with the chops and smarts—and knows so much more about politics and governance. Played with frustration and fire by Rahimi (The Catch
), Isabella “sadly has to be OK with her lot in life,” Mitchell says. “She is a woman born in the wrong place and wrong time.”
His grandfather tended the Capulets’ sheep. But Montague—in a cold, calculating turn by Bowler (Defiance
)—has scratched his way to the top of Verona society. “Montague has a real chip on his shoulder,” says Mitchell. “He’s all about wealth and status.” And now that his beloved son, Romeo, is gone, Pop’s got a big problem with Benvolio (Wade Briggs), the new heir to the family fortune.
Anthony Stewart Head
“The light went out in Capulet’s world when his daughter, Juliet, died,” says Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer
). The poor guy is also stuck in a bad marriage to the insane Lady Capulet (Lost
’s Zuleikha Robinson) and tormented by that upstart Montague. “Capulet is desperately trying to hold it all together while keeping a secret,” Head says. “He has huge money troubles.”
Shakespeare’s classic tearjerker Romeo and Juliet ends with the deaths of its lusty young lovers—and a note of hope that the grieving Montagues and Capulets might finally cease their age-old feud. But there’s no such luck in the sexy, swoony sequel Still Star-Crossed. Created by former Scandal scribe Heather Mitchell and based on Melinda Taub’s hit young-adult novel of the same name, this multiethnic, multicultural series dumps the Bard’s promising conclusion and lets all-out war erupt at Romeo and Juliet’s funeral. Soon, fair Verona is a city in crisis, yet there’s still lots of time for marvelously messy romance. “This show is for everyone who can relate to the giddy, crazy rush of first love,” Mitchell says. “And who hasn’t watched as a friend falls for the wrong person? We’ve all been a bystander at that car crash!” Here’s a cheat sheet of the power players.
Still Star-Crossed, Series Premiere, Monday, May 29, 10/9c, ABC