There are a few spoilers from the pilot episode of Empire in the first paragraph, but this story is too good to miss.
Fox’s newest drama Empire already has a lot of moving parts, but it’s not only the narratives that are complicated, as some of the show’s characters have points-of-view that can be highly controversial.There’s a flashback in the premiere where Terrence Howard’s bigoted Lucious Lyon tosses his very young son into the garbage outside because he innocently put on women’s clothing. A rough scene to watch, made even rougher knowing that the moment was plucked right from the childhood of Oscar nominated director and show co-creator Lee Daniels.
Speaking with Deadline about the sudsy drama, Howard shared how it felt to film the scene in front of Daniels, who directed the episode.
On a premium cable network, a scene like that would have been dragged out and weighed down to maximize the horror of the situation, but it’s delivered as an effectively shocking slam-bang here. We already had ten inklings that Lucious didn’t get Empire Entertainment to where it is by being a nice guy who follows a strict moral code preaching equality for all mankind. And that gut-punch showed viewers just how ruthlessly undignified Lucious is capable of being, while also building the fractured backstory of Jamal, Lucious’ more talented musician son, played by Jussie Smollett.
Had this just been an event that came from the imagination of screenwriter Danny Strong, it would have been awful enough. But knowing that Daniels’ life and family played such a big part in it adds a layer to the scene, and to the show as a whole. Filmmakers sneak their lives into their work all the time, and here’s hoping some of Daniels’ happier memories also make their way in.
This first season of Empire tells the story of the mini-mogul Lucious coming to terms with his impending medical problems by choosing one of his sons to run the going-public company, all while re-accepting the troublesome former matriarch Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) into everyone’s lives after she gets out of jail. It’s a solid set-up for big melodrama that obviously heads in dark directions.
Find Empire on Fox every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.