Friday, July 1, 2022

Lee Daniels Describes How Taraji P. Henson Landed Cookie Role

taraji and lee 1

*“The way the ‘Empire’ cast came together was complete serendipity,” admits Lee Daniels, creator and executive producer of the hit series that is setting weekly ratings records and defying gravity at Fox.

Envious of the performance-driven series “Glee,” Daniels had been thinking of way to make his own musical series on TV when his creative partner Danny Strong, who wrote “The Butler,” pitched him the idea of Shakespeare’s King Lear set in a family-owned record company.

Once the idea was locked down, Daniels went about securing his Oscar-nominated “Precious” actress Gabourey Sidibe.

“We got Gaby, you know, we’re a family. I work from a place of working with the same people over and over again. And Terrence [Howard] and I were looking for something to do. We didn’t know whether there was going to be the Marvin Gaye story,” said Daniels, referring to a biopic that at one point had Howard attached to star.

“After ‘The Butler’ we were trying to figure out what to do. And then this came.”

Below, Daniels details his first Skype conversation with Henson to discuss the role of Cookie Lyon.

“Empire” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.



  1. But Terrence had done TV before! The first time I ever saw him was on Living Single (played the freshman that dated Max) and he did that short-lived show Sparks! I’m glad people are finally seeing how talented he is though 🙂

  2. Everyone here in Philly, loves Empire….ready for next season. Next time Taraji ‘s in Philly Let’s grab a cheese steak. Q

  3. I always liked it Taraji P Henson I thought she was sexy cute but now Wow very beautiful and stunning and what a booty. I love the ghetto fire she brings to the show. and wow what a booty

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