'Empire' Star Taraji P. Henson Didn't Want To Play Cookie Lyon At First, But Thank Goodness She Took On The Role
You know how everyone pretty much loves Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon on Empire ? Well, at first, Henson didn't really love Cookie. Actually, she didn't even want to play the critically-acclaimed character, who Empire fans can't get enough of. While chatting with W magazine, the 44-year-old revealed she thought the character was "dumb" and "stupid." Whoa. Say what? Yep, those are the words she used to describe Cookie Lyon. After co-creator Lee Daniels asked the actress if she might be interested in taking on the role, her answer was no, along with a few other choice words. Henson told W:
I was like, This is stupid. Hip-hop — dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. But then I started to think, Cookie is going to piss so many people off! She hits her son with a broom; she talks back. Clearly, this was a challenge.
Thank goodness she took on the challenge, because I, for one, can't imagine any other actress who would bring so much life to the character. Obviously, Henson changed her mind about Cookie and shares the same feeling as many others about the empowering woman she portrays on television. She said, “Cookie is bold and crazy, and she loves the struggle. She started from nothing, and now she’s at the top. In that way, we’re alike: Cookie is the American Dream." Henson also told the magazine that she would "never be offered a character like Cookie in a movie." Plus, the former Person of Interest star believes someone like Cookie "doesn't exist." Well, if there is real-life Cookie out there somewhere, I'd like to meet her.
There's no doubt Mrs. Lyon is the American Dream and living the dream, just like Henson, who worked her way up the Hollywood ladder. They both have talent, heart, and great style. I could go on and on and on about how fabulous these two women are, but instead I'll leave you with this declaration about Cookie from Henson: "The only thing that never changes is her spirit: To me, Cookie is living, breathing, walking truth." Agreed, Taraji. Agreed.
Now, let's all take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief that Henson took on the role of Cookie and decided to work with Boo Boo Kitty, after all.