EMPIRE: Actor Jussie Smollett & show runner Brett Mahoney – exclusive interview

Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon in EMPIRE | © 2018 Fox

EMPIRE, the drama about a contemporary familial music dynasty, is now in its fifth season on Wednesday nights on Fox. The Lyon family has been through a lot of reversals, including losing the company of the title at the end of Season 4. None of them are taking it lying down, least of all singer/songwriter/music producer gay middle son Jamal Lyon, played by Jussie Smollett. Smollett is himself a singer/songwriter/music producer, having launched his new indie label Music of Sound earlier this year, which brought out his new album, SUM OF MY MUSIC. As an actor, California native Smollett has […]Read On »

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EMPIRE: Jussie Smollett chats Season 4 and acting and directing on the Fox series – Interview

Jussie Smollett in EMPIRE - Season 4 - "False Face" | © 2017 Fox/Chuck Hodes

EMPIRE star Jussie Smollett is having a spectacular first third to 2018. Besides being in his fourth season as middle son Jamal Lyon on Fox Networks’ Wednesday-night musical drama, Smollett makes his television directorial debut with an EMPIRE episode that airs later this season. His first feature-length studio album as a singer/songwriter SUM OF MY MUSIC, was released in March, and he seems very happy about all of it. ASSIGNMENT X: Jamal Lyon has a strong personality, he’s a singer/songwriter, he has a healthy ego, but his mother, father and brothers are often so out of control, he’s relatively the straight […]Read On »

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Movie Review: ALIEN COVENANT

ALIEN COVENANT poster | ©2017 20th Century Fox

Rating: R Stars: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Amy Seimetz Writers: John Logan and Dante Harper, story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green, based on characters created by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett Director: Ridley Scott Distributor: 20th Century Fox Release Date: May 19, 2017 Ask any prospective audience member what genre they expect ALIEN COVENANT to belong to and the answers will be horror, space horror, monster movie or some variation thereof. ALIEN COVENANT broadly fits these parameters – it has aliens of various shapes and sizes that […]Read On »

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EMPIRE: Danny Strong gives the Scoop on Season 2 – exclusive interview

Terrence Howard stars in the Fox drama EMPIRE | © 2016 Chuck Hodes/FOX

At Fox Network’s party for the Television Critics Association, Danny Strong is mulling over the dessert options. Strong is at a place in his life where most of the choices are sweet. The California native co-created Fox’s epic musical drama hit EMPIRE. Strong got an Emmy nomination for his first produced script, HBO’s RECOUNT, about the 2000 U.S. presidential election, and won an Emmy for his second, HBO’s GAME CHANGE, which starred Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin. Strong wrote LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER, about the intersection of civil rights and the U.S. presidency, which Daniels directed. That collaboration led to […]Read On »

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EMPIRE co-star Bryshere Y. Gray on the season finale – exclusive interview

Bryshere Gray star as Hakeem in the Fox hit series EMPIRE | © 2015 Michael Lavine/FOX

Fox’s new hit EMPIRE has its two-hour first-season finale Wednesday, March 18, but have no fear – it was renewed for a second season almost immediately after it premiered to huge ratings in January. The series, created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, follows the personal and musical (and financial) fortunes of the Lyon recording dynasty, headed by ailing but iron-willed Lucious (Terrence Howard), who clashes with ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) now that she’s out from a seventeen-year prison stretch and seeking her own piece of the company. The three Lyon sons are caught in the middle. Bryshere Y. […]Read On »

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Jussie Smollett and Taraji P. Henson on EMPIRE Season Finale – exclusive interview

Taraji P Henson in EMPIRE - Season 1 | © 2015 Fox / Michael Lavine

On Fox’s megahit EMPIRE, Wednesdays at 9 PM and renewed for a second season already, Taraji P. Henson plays Cookie Lyon, ex-wife of hip-hop record mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) and mother of his three sons. Jussie Smollett plays talented and gay middle son Jamal, the only one to visit his mother in jail while Cookie did 17 years in order to protect Lucious for going down with her. Henson, an Oscar-nominated actress who’s a veteran of many films and TV series, has been to a number of parties like the one that Fox and FX are throwing for the […]Read On »

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EMPIRE showrunner Ilene Chaiken gives the scoop on Season 1 – exclusive interview

Terrence Howard stars as Lucious in Fox's EMPIRE | © 2015 Chuck Hodes/FOX

Fox’s new drama series EMPIRE, Wednesdays at 9 PM, has turned into the kind of popular and ratings hit that would thrill its ultra-ambitious, powerhouse characters. Created by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels, EMPIRE is set in the world of hip-hop music, where terminally ill recording kingpin Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) wants to select one of his three sons – businesslike Andre (Trai Byers), talented, kind, gay Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and gifted but irresponsible Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) – to take over when he’s gone. Lucious’ ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) returns from prison and would like to control the […]Read On »

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EMPIRE creator Danny Strong on the Season 1 scoop – exclusive interview

Terrence Howard stars as Lucious Lyon on Fox's EMPIRE | © 2015 Michael Lavine/FOX

Fox’s freshman series EMPIRE, Wednesdays at 9 PM, is already a hit, renewed for a second season. Set in the world of hip-hop, it tells the story of ailing music mogul Lucious Lyon, played by Terrence Howard. Lucious wants to know that his legacy will continue after he passes and is trying to decide which of his three sons should inherit the company he created. Eldest son Andre (Trai Byers) has the best head for business, but no musical talent. Youngest son Hakeem (Bryshere Y. Gray) has gifts, but he often squanders them on drugs and pay-to-play women. Middle son […]Read On »

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Taraji P. Henson on the EMPIRE state of mind – Exclusive Interview

Taraki P. Henson in EMPIRE - Season 1 | ©2015 Fox/Michael Lavine

In Fox’s new drama EMPIRE, created by Danny Strong and Lee Daniels, we are in the world of hip-hop music. The new series introduces us to music mogul Lucious Lyon, played by Terrence Howard. Lucious is suffering from a serious illness and struggles to retain power while also trying to plan his legacy. Son Jamal, played by Jussie Smollett, is perhaps the most talented and qualified choice, but Jamal is gay, and Lucious cannot bear that. Challenging Lucious on virtually everything is his ex-wife Cookie, played by Taraji P. Henson. Henson and Howard previously worked together in 2005’s HUSTLE & […]Read On »

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