*Taraji P. Henson will reunite with her “Hustle & Flow” co-star Terrence Howard for yet another hip-hop themed project…this time for television.
The “Person Of Interest” alum has been cast as the female lead in Fox’s “Empire,” a drama pilot from Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and Imagine’s Brian Grazer. Also cast in the project, written by Strong and to be directed by Daniels, is Jussie Smollet, the 30-year-old older brother of actress Jurnee Smollett.
As previously reported, “Empire” centers on Lucious Lyon (Howard), a charismatic, savvy music superstar who is about to take his company, Empire Entertainment, public. Raised on the streets, he has never backed away from a fight and will resort to any measures, fair or foul, to defend his beloved Empire.
Henson plays Cookie Lyon, Lucious’ ex-wife and former business partner. She is a sexy, outrageous, over-the-top force who has spent 17 years of hard time in prison for dealing drugs – money she funneled directly to Lucious’ fledging music empire. Now she’s been released early for good behavior and she wants what’s hers.
Smollet plays Lucious and Cookie’s middle son Jamal, a sensitive soul and musical prodigy who could easily 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.”
Oscar nominee Henson is currently wrapping up the lead in “Above The Fold” at Pasadena Playhouse. Smollett recently guested on Fox’s “The Mindy Project.”