If you’ve watched just one episode of Lee Daniels and Danny Strong’s hyper-soapy drama Empire, or if you’ve watched all of them obsessively, you know that the show is full of characters that spare no effort when it comes to wilin’ out. And if you thought things were going to get tamer in Season 2, you clearly have no idea what this show is capable of, and we can expect to find the Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei sauntering into this series as a lesbian billionaire. Because of course she is.
Tomei will be playing a character named Mimi Whiteman, according to Deadline, and I can already hear Taraji P. Henson’s Cookie Lyon saying something along the lines of “Whiteman? Looks like a Whitelady to me,” as she sets a picture of Lucious on fire. Mimi is a “demanding venture capitalist” whose wealth ranks high up there on the Forbes list, and her interest in making more money is presumably what gets her involved with the financial affairs of the Lyons. Lucious going to jail right when the company went public had to have created some problems, so perhaps Mimi will fix some of them. Or not.
She’s also described as being fashionable and a big hip-hop fan, as well as someone big into social trends and gorgeous women. Yes, she’s a lesbian, but I can’t help but think that she’s going to enter into some kind of a weird tryst with Hakeem, because that’s how Hakeem rolls, and it would no doubt piss Cookie off. We’re definitely hoping that Mimi and Cookie go head to head with each other in antagonizing ways, because there aren’t many people that can stand up to Cookie without flinching. Having a billion dollars in the bank might just create that kind of courage for Mimi, though.
Tomei isn’t the only big name we can expect to see entering the cast for the first time in Season 2. Chris Rock will show up as someone from Lucious’ past, and one that he runs into in prison in the early part of the season. We can also look forward to seeing Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz causing one form of havoc or another.
Marisa Tomei is not someone who appears on the small screen very often, and this will be her biggest role since showing up for a brief stint on Season 3 of Rescue Me. And it won’t be her only TV work coming, as she’s also set to play feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem for an upcoming HBO miniseries. On the big screen side of things, she’ll have a small part in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck as well as in Jessie Nelson’s comedy Love the Coopers, and she’s currently filming Adam McKay’s Brad Pitt-led drama The Big Short.
Empire will return for presumably more raings-busting numbers when Season 2 premieres on Fox on September 23. For now, you can catch the entirety of Season 1 on Hulu.