I love the show Empire. With Lee Daniels at the helm, you know that a lot of thought has gone into every decision from the casting, to the plot, to the songs. Daniels knows that its all about the details, but some of the best parts about the show pretty much happened via fate. For instance, Taraji P. Henson was not the first choice to play Cookie. Yes, believe it or not, this already iconic character is not who she was originally intended to be. So, this fun fact got me thinking and I asked myself: What else don't we know about Empire ? What other secrets lay behind the scenes?
I'm not referring to plot spoilers or anything about the upcoming content of the show, but I'm talking about the elements that made Empire Season 1 the greatest new show on television. There are plenty of Empire secrets. Yes, in a world dominated by social media communication, there are actually some things about the show that are not widely known by the public. Some of you Empire super fans might already be in the know, but there's probably something in this list that surprises even the most dedicated viewer.
Taraji P. Henson Was Not Originally Slated To Be Cookie Lyon
Cookie Lyon is pretty much everything to me, so it boggles my mind that someone else was offered the part before Taraji P. Henson, but apparently, this is the case. Monique said that Lee Daniels sought her out for the role and even said she still has the email correspondence as evidence of the casting offer. Don't get me wrong, Monique has a lot of sass and dramatic prowess, but I just cannot picture this show without Henson playing Cookie.
Taraji P. Henson Helped Cast Terrence Howard
I really can't picture anyone else playing Lucious Lyon. Terrence Howard absolutely kills it in that role. No one else could be absolutely ruthless, yet somehow endearing in that character. And, as much as I was praising Lee Daniels's creative genius before, it was actually Henson who insisted on Howard getting this part. During an interview with Wendy Williams, Henson explained, "When I opened up the script, I saw [Terrence] and I. I heard the words coming from his mouth. I said to [Lee] — I didn't even have the job yet, and I said, 'So if you can make that work, hire Terrence, great. If not, good luck with the show." Maybe Henson should go into casting as a side venture?
Hakeem Is Bryshere Grey's First Credited Acting Role
I figured with Henson with Howard on Empire that the rest of the cast would be rounded out with seasoned actors. However, that is not the case. Hakeem is Bryshere Grey's first credited acting role. Grey was focused more on the music at the time of his casting and he actually had to rap during his audition. I guess you can't deny natural talent. Experience doesn't have to count for everything.
There Are Other Cast Members With Musical Talent
Sure, we've seen Cookie, Lucious, Jamal, and Hakeem Lyon spitting rhymes and singing as a part of the show, but they're not the only cast members who can sing. Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Lucious's assistant Becky, is actually a very talented singer. Maybe we will see her showing off her musical talents now that she's been upgraded to a series regular. There are also videos of Kaitlin Doubleday, aka Rhonda Lyon, singing on YouTube. Grace Gealey, who plays Anika, is a talented singer, too. I wonder if these other singing talents will ever be utilized on the show. I sure hope so.
Lucious's Favorite Color Is Purple
This seems like a weird factoid to reveal because it's not really indicative of the plot, but Empire costume designer, Rita McGhee, revealed that Cookie wears purple all the time because it's actually Lucious' favorite color. McGhee told TV Guide, "We had great furs to choose from, but the purple one was perfect for this scene because purple is Lucious' favorite color. So since she wanted to woo him, she wore that." I guess trying to spot the color purple is a good way to read between the lines and figure out what Cookie's intentions may be.
Of course, it's going to be a long summer without any new Empire episodes, but hopefully these new bits of information were able to tide you over some until the show returns.
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