Taraji P. Henson on PERSON OF INTEREST Fan Love, and Her New Show, EMPIRE Providing a 'Role That Actors Wait a Lifetime For' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Taraji P. Henson on PERSON OF INTEREST Fan Love, and Her New Show, EMPIRE Providing a ‘Role That Actors Wait a Lifetime For’

September 12, 2014 by  

Taraji P. Henson has kept busy during her nearly two decades of acting — including an Oscar nomination for her role in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON — but she admitted to me she’s still a little shocked by the sheer amount fan love she’s received from her time playing Joss Carter on CBS’ PERSON OF INTEREST.

“Isn’t that something?” Henson asked. “It blows me away. And it reminds me of why I got into acting; I do this because I feel like God gave me a gift. My father always said if you’re blessed, you have to go out into the world and be a blessing. I get to touch people and give them a cathartic experience. Or let them see a little bit of themselves. Or see somebody who needs help. So when I get this feedback from people saying Carter has touched their lives, I get goosebumps and I get emotional. Because that’s all I want to do. That’s why I do what I do.”

And while Henson knew Carter’s tragic demise was coming, what she didn’t realize was how much her exit would rock fans.

“I had no idea,” she said. “I had no idea. And it blows me away. And to this day, I’ll tweet something about something else, and [fans] will be like, ‘Oh, that’s really great…WE REALLY MISS YOU ON PERSON OF INTEREST!’…it keeps coming back.”

empire-tarajiHenson intended to stick to films post-PERSON OF INTEREST (her latest movie, NO GOOD DEED, is out today), but when she got the script for the upcoming Fox musical drama, EMPIRE, she quickly changed her mind.

“Let me tell you something: that’s the role that actors wait a lifetime for,” she gushed. “[Cookie Lyon is] so complex, she’s so multilayered. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to go to work.”

“[Working with] Terrence Howard!” she added. (Howard plays Henson’s ex-husband/father of her children, Lucious, who is the head of a music empire.) “That’s not even work. I love this entire cast, I love the concept of the show. [EMPIRE creators] Lee Daniels and Danny Strong are absolutely amazing. I honestly didn’t want to do television, but when I got this script, I was like, ‘This is how you go back to TV.'”

As Henson looks ahead at her future in television, she’s excited at the prospect of sinking her teeth into Cookie’s life.

“She sacrificed 17 years of her free life for her family,” she shared. “It says a lot about a woman [to go to jail that long to protect family]. ’17 years of living like a dog,’ she says. She did it for her family.”

Cookie also has some fabulous style — “I love it!” Henson enthused — which will serve to add additional insight into the character.

“Wardrobe says a lot about a character,” Henson explained. “It helps me. They have her in a lot of animal print, which makes sense. And the last name — Lyon. She’s like a feline.”

A vicious one, if Henson has her way: when I asked her what she most hoped to get to do in season 1 of EMPIRE, her answer was instantaneous.

“I want to kill somebody!” she laughed. “I need to kill somebody!”

EMPIRE will debut on Fox in 2015.

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Filed under Empire, Person of Interest


13 Responses to “Taraji P. Henson on PERSON OF INTEREST Fan Love, and Her New Show, EMPIRE Providing a ‘Role That Actors Wait a Lifetime For’”

  1. Truth Lady on September 14th, 2014 6:01 pm

    Taraji, you are awesome and your fans think more of you than you can ever know. The fact that NO GOOD DEED is #1 at the box office this weekend probably indicates a lot about how strongly you are admired and respected, as well as supported. Empire is going to be fabulous and highly anticipated. Be ready for everyone wearing “animal prints” in your honor. Thanks for being talented, strong, brave and undaunted. These traits make you a role model. Let’s leave Person of Interest in your rear view mirror. That thing is tired old news, except for Jim kissing you and loving you. That was delicious!

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