Lashana Lynch Is 'Star-Crossed' As Shonda Rhimes' Newest Leading Lady

The 29-year-old beauty is stepping into a huge role as the star-crossed cousin of Juliet in ABC's newest drama.

In the small town of Cáceres, Spain filled with Gothic towers, Renaissance architecture and cobble streets, Lashana Lynch was working on the biggest role of her career.

The 29-year-old is set to star in ABC’s new show Still Star-Crossed being executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. As Rhimes’ first period drama for the network, the show focuses on the warring Capulets and Montagues after Romeo and Juliet take their lives in the name of love. 

Lynch’s character, Rosaline Capulet (Juliet’s cousin) is betrothed to marry a Montague in order to restore peace in their shared home of Verona. Only problem is, she’s in love with another man.

The production for the show is said to have been the most expensive in the network’s history, spending money on the secluded European location, hand-stitched garments and decadent set design. And for Lynch, she couldn’t be more humbled to be a part of the final product.

“Rosaline is bold, fierce, a feminist, ahead of her time,” Lynch told ESSENCE. 

“I didn’t actually know this was a ShondaLand project. I auditioned, sent the tape in and got a Skype meeting with the pilot’s director. And when I got through my agent was like, ‘You’re going to have a Skype meeting with Shonda.’ And I was like, ‘Which Shonda?! I know you’re not talking about Shonda Rhimes?! Oh my God.’ He said her name was in the emails, but I had no idea. I read them at like 2 A.M.”

“I didn’t actually get to speak with her but I heard they loved me from the first take.”

From West London, the beauty comes from a strong Jamaican home where she was acting and singing since childhood. Lynch went on to the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School and then drama school for performing arts. 

“It’s exciting, we support each other a lot,” Lynch said about the many talented Black actors coming from the UK like Cynthia ErivoMichaela Coel and Daniel Kaluuya.

“There’s a lot of us that support each other. I wouldn’t say it’s a secret society but if you have something big and you’re repping the UK, everyone just flocks to it. We support you, don’t even worry about it.”

“It’s so hard to get in the room. When you get that role here, it’s like you’re flying. Your’e doing it, you’re doing it for us. If one person wins, then we all win.”

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[MUSIC] Coinage, life, well spent. Presented by Geico. [MUSIC] Shonda Rhimes is the queen of television. The producer, screen writer and author is best known as the creator of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and Private Practice. Her production company, Shondaland, also produces fan favorites. How to Get Away With Murder and the Catch. In a recent tell talk, Rhimes says she manages $350 million of ABC's budget to produce her four network shows. Rhimes holds primetime real estate on ABC's Thursday night line up. The network even came up with the cash raise, TGIT, Thank God It's Thursday. Before she became ABC's golden goose, Rhimes wrote and produced quiet a few teen favorites. She wrote Crossroads starring Britney Spears and wrote the screenplay for the Princess Diaries 2, Royal Engagement. Her first big hit, Grey's Anatomy, has been running for 13 seasons. Gladiators around the country tune in to make political thriller Scandal a highly rated favorite. Not only was the show a hit, the clothes are their own phenomenon Kerry Washington and costume designer Lyn Paolo paired with now defunct brand, The Limited, to create the Scandal collection. How to Get Away With Murder kills the competition on Thursday nights with jaw dropping flat lines. Shonda Rhimes is a powerhouse, and with more projects in the works, she shows no signs of slowing down. [MUSIC] Coinage, life well spent. Presented by GEICO.