ONE TOUGH COOKIE TO CRUMBLE
Taraji P Henson is mother hen. The 45-year-old actor keeps a close watch on Empire’s young cast members to make sure they don’t succumb to Hollywood’s pitfalls.
Henson plays feisty Loretha “Cookie” Lyon, the ex-wife of Empire Entertainment boss Lucious Lyon, on the hit music drama. The character was partinspired by Joan Collins’s Alexis Carrington in Dynasty.
Lucious and Cookie have three sons — Andre (Trai Byers), Jamal (Jussie Smollett), and Hakeem (Bryshere Y Gray), all of whom are vying for top spot in their father’s business.
Cookie served 17 years in prison for drug dealing but now she is back to claim her share and get the best for her boys.
“I’d say that probably 80 per cent is Cookie and 20 per cent is Taraji,” Henson says of her character.
Empire has been a massive hit in the US, averaging nearly 20 million viewers per episode. That success has rubbed off on the young cast, but Henson is keeping a close watch.
“I remember last season, they used to play my bodyguard when we would go to Target,” Henson says. “I’d be tickled (thinking) who’s gonna be your bodyguard next season (after Empire’s success)?
“I’m like, yeah, you try going to Target now!”
EMPIRE, ELEVEN, TUESDAY, 9.30PM