Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Lee Daniels was fresh off of a string of successful films in the 2000’s that included “Precious” and “The Butler”, both of which were big hits at the Academy Awards. Daniels had never worked in television before, but teamed up with Danny Strong (who wrote the screenplay for “The Butler”) to create a series for FOX called “Empire”. The show, based in New York City, shows the inner workings of the hip hop industry and has been a ratings giant for FOX in its first two seasons with a third one starting up in late 2016.
Terrence Howard plays Lucious Lyon, the main focus of the show who became the CEO of Empire Entertainment dealing with a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The drama that ensues becomes interesting as his terminal illness means someone will have to take over his label so he gets his three sons to feud for control of Empire Entertainment.
The feuding between the three sons (played by Trai Byers, Bryshere Y. Gray and Jussie Smollett) definitely haven’t been the only ones as the set has had its problems despite being on for less than two years. Even Daniels admitted that “You got me, you got Taraji (P. Henson) and you got Terrence Howard. All three of us are bats*** f***ing crazy.”
Daniels has been battling with FOX executives since the day the show started regarding storylines and guest stars on “Empire”. There have been many big name stars making cameos, but Daniels said that he hasn’t wanted most of them. “Don’t get it twisted,” he said. “You think we wanted the names? No, it was (FOX) that wanted them.” Some of the names that have popped up include Courtney Love and Mariah Carey.
As for any problems that might have happened on the set between cast members, sources that that’s between the two biggest stars; Howard and Henson. One studio member said “It’s gotten so bad that Taraji can’t be on set for more than 30 seconds without staring daggers at him,” though they’ve known each other for more than a decade. What’s the reasoning behind it? “She’s irritated by the pompous, bigheaded braggart that Terrence has become,” the source claimed.
People have said that Howard’s attitude changed when he was going through a divorce while filming “Empire” and started to become more reserved. He also stopped doing interviews about the show for a period of time, which really didn’t help the rumors of what was happening behind the scenes. Henson and co-star Kaitlin Doubleday have said that the rumors about Henson and Howard not getting along were exaggerated, and that the two are still great friends.
There was another incident that reportedly happened while filming season two that resulted in violence on the set of “Empire”, though. Bryshere Gray was filming a scene where he was “supposed to hit (Howard) with a plastic bottle, but he hit him with a real bottle and cut him for real.” What happened next was surprising as the source said “Terrence hauled off and punched him in the face,” then added “(Gray) is bipolar, but he won’t take his meds. Terrence felt he did it on purpose.”
Despite all of the problems that have reportedly come from the set of “Empire” in the first three seasons of filming, the cast still maintains that they are getting along, though most of it is Howard and Henson saying that their friendship has never been better. Once Howard is no longer on the show, maybe we can get a full blow-by-blow detailing of what happened with the bottle that Gray smacked him with and the ensuing fight.