Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are constantly going toe-to-toe with one another on Fox's hit drama "Empire." Despite the fact that their characters, Cookie and Lucious, are normally at war with one another, Henson would not be on the show if Howard wasn't the man playing Lucious Lyon.
According to Rolling Stone, Henson told "Empire" showrunner Lee Daniels the only way she would play Cookie Lyon would be if he cast Howard to play Lucious. The two had previously starred together in the 2005 hip-hop film "Hustle and Flow" Daniels originally wanted Wesley Snipes for the role.
"Cookie and Lucious sometimes hate and love each other in the same scene. There's an unspoken connection that you can't fake. My boy Terrence and I have that. So I said to Lee, 'If you can make it happen with Terrence, call me back,'" Henson dished to Rolling Stone.
Howard told Rolling Stone he's looking forward to "Empire" running its course and said he'll be able to retire if he makes enough money from it. He also said a lot of what he does with Lucious is still him, but with a different tone.
"I just change the vibration. Because Lucious has a very base understanding of life — kill or be killed — I keep him down at a very low frequency," Howard said.
Earlier this month, showrunner Ilene Chaiken told The Hollywood Reporter Season 2 of "Empire" is going to pick up a short time after last year's season finale. In the final episode, alliances started to change as Lucious handed over the keys of Empire to Jamal (Jussie Smollett) before he was arrested for the murder of Bunkie (Antoine McKay).
"Lucious is still in prison when we come back and there definitely is a role reversal, and its not just Lucious is in prison and Cookie was last time but there's a shifting of alliances. When we ended season one, it looked as if Jamal and Lucious were aligned with one another and Cookie and Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) were starting to form a relationship so we get to explore all of that," Chaiken dished.
In the Season 2 premiere of "Empire," Cookie will throw a giant #FreeLucious concert in an effort, at least publicly, to get her indicted-for-murder husband out of prison. However, according to the premiere synopsis, Cookie will secretly be plotting, along with Andre (Trai Byers), Hakeem, Anika (Grace Gealey) and Mimi (guest star Marisa Tomei) to take over the company from Lucious, who will be trying to run things from behind bars.
But it won't be the same old cast of characters in Season 2. Last season featured cameos from big names, such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle and Raven-Symoné, and this year is no exception. Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz and Kelly Rowland are reported to be guest starring in Season 2, according to E! Online.
"Empire" Season 2 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 23, on Fox at 9 p.m. EDT.