*Mo’Nique has produced several emails that appear to prove her claim that “Empire” executive producer and writer Lee Daniels wanted her to play Cookie Lyon before the role went to Taraji P. Henson.
When the actress told “The Hollywood Reporter” last month that she was originally offered the role on Fox’s hit drama, some wrote it off as her attempt to shade Daniels after he claimed she had gotten herself blackballed in Hollywood.
But during an interview with “Sway In The Morning,” Mo came armed with printed-out emails between her camp and a show rep, proving she was indeed considered for the role first. The rep even said, “Lee fought for her… but studio and network executives insisted on offering the role to Taraji.”
Below are some of the emails read by Sway:
Feb. 18, 2014
Lee Daniels had a conversation with Mo’Nique about his new television pilot for Imagine TV/Fox called “Empire.” We would like to screen test her for the role of ‘Cookie.’ Please contact us with her television quotes, so that we can start a test, option, deal. We are tentatively looking at Monday, Feb 24 for the screen test.
Feb. 18, 2014
Hello I am following up on my previous e-mail regarding Lee Daniels’ pilot and Mo’Nique’s television quotes. This is a time sensitive matter. Lee really does not want Mo’Nique to miss this opportunity.
March 3, 2014
Unfortunately it’s not going any further for Mo’Nique. Lee fought for her because he thought she would be great for the pilot but studio and network executives insisted on offering the role to Taraji. Thank you so much for providing us with her information. Sorry it didn’t work out. We’re all big fans of hers.
Producing proof that she was considered for the role first is not about animosity, but about principle, Mo’Nique told Sway.
“You know when I heard Danny Strong had come on the show and was adamant about Mo’Nique was never offered that role and he’d gone on other places and said it. And I tweeted that brother and said, ‘Will you speak as loudly when you understand that you’re telling something that’s not correct?’” Mo’Nique told Sway.