Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson will star opposite Terrence Howard in Fox's Empire, TVGuide.com has learned.
From The Butler's Lee Daniels and Game Change's Danny Strong, Empire is a family drama set in the world of a hip-hop empire that will feature both original and current music.
The Person of Interest alum will play Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife and former business partner of music superstar Lucious Lyon (Howard). The outrageous and over-the-top Cookie has spent 17 years in prison for dealing drugs — money she funneled directly to Lucious' then-fledgling music empire. Now she's been released early for good behavior and she wants what's hers.
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Henson, who was killed off Person of Interest in November, reunites with Howard, with whom she starred inHustle & Flow. She is also known for her Oscar-nominated performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Additionally, Jussie Smollett — the older brother of Friday Night Lights' Jurnee Smollett whose credits includeThe Mighty Ducks and The Mindy Project — has been cast as Jamal Lyon, the son of Lucious who is a musical prodigy in his own right and could rise to superstardom if he desired. As a gay man, he's been rejected and judged by his father since childhood — which may explain why he steers clear of fame and prefers to keep his music "pure."
Daniels and Strong will write and executive-produce the drama — which was ordered to pilot with an eye toward series — alongside Brian Grazer (24) and Francie Calfo (How to Live with Your Parents).
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