Not to be confused with her “Empire” alter ego, Taraji P. Henson wants to set the record straight: She is nothing like Cookie, the broom-wielding ex-con she portrays on the hit Fox show. In fact, Henson is beginning to resent her character’s popularity, even saying her friends no longer reach out to her unless it has to do with Cookie Lyon.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Henson revealed she’s struggling with her character’s rise to cultural infamy. “She has stolen my identity," said the actress of the raucous matriarch at Empire Records.
When Henson first read her “Empire” part, the actress said the character took her aback. "Cookie scared the hell out of me," she said. Henson recalled she was cross with her agent and swore to do theater instead. Feeling unfulfilled, Henson said she was in search of more meaningful work than the “Empire” script she at first rejected. “I felt like I needed to sharpen the tools again."
“Empire” is set to return on Fox for Season 2 on Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. The 18-episode arc will be split into two, which would give Cookie and company even more room for bigger drama than Season 1. Showrunner Danny Strong revealed at the ATX Television Festival there would be more flashback scenes in store for Cookie Lyon.
Earlier this month, actor Adam Rodriguez was signed to “Empire” as a potential love interest for Cookie, which will probably only add fuel to the fire of her already heated relationship with her ex-husband Lucious (Terrence Howard). Henson and Rodriguez previously collaborated on Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.”