*Vivica A. Fox arrived in the final minutes of “Empire” this week and not only raised Cookie’s blood pressure, but lifted the show’s ratings.
Fox has Donald Trump to thank for her role on the series, because show creator Lee Daniels happened to be watching the actress on “Celebrity Apprentice” when she got into it with Kenya Moore.
“Lee Daniels was watching me on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and after I had that epic boardroom showdown, he gave me a call,” Fox told The Hollywood Reporter. “He was like, ‘Baby, I’m going to figure out some kind of way to get you on “Empire.”’ So, of course I was thrilled because doing ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ was such a heck of a sacrifice for myself – five-and-a-half weeks of my life that I’ll never be able to get back – and putting myself out there, to reintroduce myself to my audience and to everyone, and it worked effectively. So when I got the call from him saying that he wanted me to be on Empire, I was like, ‘Yes.’”
THR: What was it like establishing that familial bond with Taraji?
There was one day, because I’m the oldest sister and Cookie’s the middle sister and Carol is the baby sister. We were all in the makeup trailer and Taraji leaned over and she was like, “You guys, this is so crazy. I’m so glad that you guys are playing my sisters.” And we all had a sister moment, and it was very sweet.
How would you describe Candace and Cookie’s dynamic?
My character Candace is totally different than Cookie. She’s the bougie stuck-up sister that lives a totally different life. She’s married to a wealthy man, she’s doing well, she has children and she’s in the suburbs and very happy so we’re very different. … We’ve definitely lost our sisterly connection but the crisis with Carol happens and we have to go looking for Carol and that’s why we have to deal with each other. In us looking for Carol, and caring about Carol because she’s our sister, that’s why we have to deal with each other and boy, do we butt heads.
Next week’s episode sees you two go to Philly to find Carol. How does that trip impact their estranged relationship?
It makes us have to deal with one another. Because of Cookie’s actions, Carol just drops off her kids and checks out. And so we go looking for Carol together so I learn a lot more about Cookie than what I knew, like I just thought, ‘Oh, you went to jail and you’re living this rock’n’roll existence in the music industry.’ You’re going to see that Rosie O’Donnell plays one of Cookie’s homies that helps us find Carol. So Candace learns how [Cookie] lived in [jail]. They learn a lot about each other, and there’s a secret that Candace has in her vault that Carol doesn’t want Cookie to know.
Everyone in this family has something it seems.
What I love about the storyline is that it’s how families are. We can all be raised in the same house, but we don’t get to choose our family. People sometimes take different directions and when we come together, especially during holidays or during a crisis, you get to see people’s true colors come out. And that’s how everyone is going to be able to relate. People will say, “I’m Team Cookie. I’m Team Candace.” They’re going to be able to relate to the differences of this family dynamic.