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    The lead
    actors
    of the latest
    music drama
    get talking

    TARAJI P Henson and Terrence
    Howard’s sizzling chemistry is
    undeniable on the latest hit drama
    Empire. Now we know why Henson
    said she would only do the role if
    Howard was cast as the lead. This is
    no straightforward family show.
    Howard plays a reformed drug
    dealer turned music moghul,
    Lucious Lyon. As an artiste and
    CEO of Empire Entertainment,
    Lyon is at the top of the ladder, but
    when he is diagnosed with a medical
    disorder, he must pick one of
    his three sons —Hakeem, Jamal
    and Andre—to take over from
    him. Then comes Henson as the
    sassy wife Cookie, who was only
    recently released from jail.
    ‘‘Expect to have your wig twisted
    back with the show. It is a multifaceted,
    multidimensional
    show that talks about lifechanging
    moments or everyday
    events that happen in most people’s
    lives,’’ begins Howard, adding that
    on screen they deal with things
    without apology. ‘‘Plus, a lot of
    incredible music, high fashion,
    and oh, great one-liners coming
    from Cookie,’’ quips Henson, who
    Howard says delivers her punchline
    brilliantly, and will take a script
    from ‘zero to 100’.
    While both actors are best known
    for their film roles – Howard was
    last seen in the comedy St Vincent
    and Henson was in the thriller No
    Good Deed – they say the transition
    to television wasn’t too difficult
    since they use the same cameras
    for both formats. ‘‘But you don’t get
    too much time on television. It is a
    bit rushed and you need to cram
    eight pages a day instead of perhaps
    one a day in film,’’ explains
    Henson, elaborating that with a
    good script such as Empire, it feels
    like a feature film.
    Saying it was a no-brainer to
    take on the show, Henson says that
    the script read like a feature film,
    and the name Lee Daniels sealed
    the deal. ‘‘It had the smell of a perfect
    storm, if you will. The studio
    was behind it, the script was amazing,
    the director, line-up was
    incredible. We’re witnessing the
    perfect storm,’’ she says, and
    Howard agrees. ‘‘All the people
    have been part of many great projects.
    But me having Taraji—to be
    able to dance with my friend again.
    That was great. Some of the songs
    should be number one songs on the
    radio—that’s how good the music
    is. We will shake you up,’’ he concludes.
    Weekdays, 10 pm on FX.
    — Team Indulge

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