The Taraji P. Henson Role What Men Want Filmmakers Want To See Mel Gibson Try

Taraji P. Henson in What Men Want

What if you could hear the innermost thoughts of the men around you? Terrifying, right? Well, in the new Taraji P. Henson comedy What Men Want, the uncomfortable honesty that comes with mens’ thoughts also leads to hilarity, especially as Henson tries to get inside the brains of Tracy Morgan, Pete Davidson, Max Greenfield and Shaquille O’Neal. You might not realize that What Men Want is a spin on the Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt comedy What Women Want, from 2000. So when CinemaBlend sat down with the Men cast, we asked them what classic Taraji role would they love to see Mel Gibson tackle, and Henson had an immediate reply:

Cookie. [Laughs] And it would be quite entertaining!

Didn’t even take her a moment to realize that Taraji P. Henson would love to see Mel Gibson tackle the role of Cookie Lyon from FOX’s hit drama Empire. It would be as much of a role-reversal as Henson slipping into the role of a business executive who is blessed (or is it cursed?) with the ability to hear the thoughts of the opposite sex.

And now we can’t stop thinking about Mel Gibson trading scenes with Terrence Howard as they talked the inner workings of the Hip-Hop world.

When we posed the same question to What Men Want director Adam Shankman and his producer, Will Packer, they both went after some of Taraji P. Henson’s other signature roles. And yet, the effect was equally comedic! They told us:

Adam Shankman: Hustle & Flow! Hustle & Flow.Will Packer: As a prostitute? As a pregnant prostitute? [Laughs]Shankman: Yeah. I want him as a pregnant prostitute.Packer: I want to see him as Tyrese’s baby momma, dogging bullets in South Central in Baby Boy. That’s the role.Shankman: I don’t know. It’s either Hustle & Flow, or Cookie Lyon. … Mouthy! They’re both mouthy.

It has been a while since Mel Gibson has challenged himself in a role, and we couldn’t see him taking on a role like a pregnant prostitute. That’s some Spike Jonze-level insanity. But Gibson is open to comedy, as he recently appeared in the sequel Daddy’s Home Two. It broke up his string of action thrillers like Blood Father and Get The Gringo.

Here’s the cast of What Men Want, career-speculating on the one-time Braveheart director.

And in addition to that, we’ve been offered an exclusive listen to the title track from the What Men Want score, by Brian Tyler. It’s available now on Lakeshore Records. Give this a listen:

Want to see what Taraji P. Henson does with an old Mel Gibson role? Then head to theater to see What Men Want, right now. But hit our review of the film before you go. It will help you prepare for what to expect.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.