Terrence Howard in EMPIRE - Season 1 | ©2015 Fox/Chuck Hodes

Terrence Howard in EMPIRE - Season 1 | ©2015 Fox/Chuck Hodes

In EMPIRE, the new Fox series airing Wednesdays at 9 PM, Terrence Howard plays hip hop music kingpin Lucious Lyon. When he is diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Lucious feels he must leave his power and fortune to one of his children – but which one? The choice is complicated by the reappearance of his ex-wife Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson, who has emerged from prison feeling that she is entitled to at least some of what Lucious has.

Howard and Henson have worked together before in HUSTLE & FLOW, which also dealt with the music industry. Howard also worked previously with EMPIRE creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong on the feature film LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER, which Daniels directed and Strong wrote. The prolific Chicago-born actor also has a major role in another Fox series, the upcoming WAYWARD PINES.

Howard is at a post-premiere party for EMPIRE thrown by Fox atop the Hollywood W Hotel, where he answers a few questions about the series.

ASSIGNMENT X: What drew you to this project?

TERRENCE HOWARD: Just the opportunity to work with Lee Daniels and work with Danny Strong, but really to work with Taraji. And then the fact that I didn’t think the project would work. I thought that the subject matter was a little ambitious and that at the end of the day, it was going to fall. But that’s what every actor wants. You want something that’s a challenge, and to have this kind of reception, I think it’s fantastic.

AX: Why did you think it wouldn’t work?

HOWARD: Because of the subject matter. Look at the subject matter. I mean, tackling homosexuality within the black community and within the hip-hop community, tackling a black family trying to go public, dealing with ALS. All of those things are pretty freaking ambitious, dealing with a KING LEAR background. It seemed impossible. But we did it.

AX: What would you most like people to know about EMPIRE right now?

HOWARD: That EMPIRE is not about being politically correct. “Politically correct” is a new term for bulls***. I think people need to be truthful, and that’s what EMPIRE is, because whether the characters are flawed or not, they are honest.

Related: Exclusive Interview with EMPIRE star Taraji P. Henson

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Article: Exclusive Interview with EMPIRE star Terrence Howard


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