EMPIRE at TCA: Live-Blog - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

EMPIRE at TCA: Live-Blog

August 6, 2015 by  

The last time EMPIRE hit TCA, it had just premiered — and was fresh off a renewal. Since then the show has only grown, and the cast and producers are here to talk season 2.

Follow along for a live-blog…

4:55 PM: Started things off with a trailer for season 2…Lucious’ family wants to remove him from the board.

4:56 PM: “I think we were all surprised,” Brian Grazer says of the show’s success. They all loved the show from the start, though.

4:56 PM: “I’m having the time of my life,” Taraji P. Henson says. She says about 80% of Cookie is Cookie, and 20% of Cookie is Taraji. She says she’s more politically correct than Cookie is.

4:57 PM: “All we want to do is continue to do EMPIRE and that’s tell the truth,” Lee Daniels says. He want the show to be itself.

“We want to continue to  do EMPIRE…all of that is driven by wanting to go on and tell these stories,” Ilene Chaiken says. She goes to Lee to get storyline input.

4:59 PM: Henson compares EMPIRE to a cable series….they just can’t say the words you can say on cable. “I’m always blown away with the stories they come up with,” Henson says.

Henson says she went to video village in the premiere and says she went to ask about them doing something.

“We’re here to fuck this shit up,” Chaiken replied at the time.

5:02 PM: “Who is that?” Henson jokes when Mariah Carey’s guest spot is mentioned.

“We’re trying to figure out the scheduling,” Grazer says. But Carey will guest star.

5:03 PM: “The fact is, although we’re really engaged and we live-tweet the show, by the time we get the feedback, its too late to change [the story],” Chaiken says. They also tell stories on the show about social media, so it’s a very meta experience.

5:04 PM: “The writing is so rich, it’s there, it’s all in the page,” Henson says of her performance. “I really just show up and they put me in the hair and the makeup and I have this incredible opinion.”

5:06 PM; “Especially with my boys, my babies, Jussie and Yazz — Trai is cool, he seems more reserved,” Henson says of taking care of her boys and taking care of them. “I just had a conversation with Yazz the other day about saving his money.”

“They’re really like my sons…I’m constantly checking in on them,” Henson says. She notes they wanted to be her bodyguard at Target, and she worried who would help them in season 2.

5:08 PM: “Bye Felicia,” Daniels’ response to the person who is suing them.

5:08 PM: “It was terrifying at first; Fox gave us this nice schedule: ten episodes and then eight,” Chaiken says of their episode expansion.

5:09 PM: “I’m very excited we were picked up,” Daniels says of the Emmy snub. “I’m lucky to be working. I spoke to my cast when we didn’t get an Emmy nomination. Terrence and I had a moment. I am lucky to be employed. I am blessed to be employed right now…so many people I respect are unemployed.”

He says the first email everyone sent that day was joy over Henson’s nomination.

“I’m nominated?!” Henson jokes.

5:13 PM: “Cookie is the culmination of a lot of people,” Henson says. “She has the gift of gab, she knows talent, she knows how to produce talent, she knows music…she’s a mother…her boys will not be statistics.”

5:14 PM: “Peeling back yet another layer to what is going on in America, specifically in this African-American family,” Daniels says about season 2’s theme.

5:15 PM: “When you start a television, you don’t really know what you’re doing,” Daniels admits. He acknowledges the more stars we put on the show, “the more it takes away from the family.” He says he wants the focus to be the family.

5:17 PM: “Every one of those stories, we broke in the writers’ room before they happened,” Chaiken says of the show reflecting recent real-life streaming competitors, and rapper battles.

5:18 PM: “I said he had ALS because if he misbehaved, you know what I mean?” Daniels says. But they love him, so they want to keep him around. Chaiken says she had always heard they thought it might be a misdiagnosis.

5:20 PM: “It’s magic every day,” Henson says of her co-workers.

“My God, these guys have grown in a year,” Daniels enthuses after rewatching the pilot recently. There will be a director’s cut coming up for fans to watch.

5:21 PM: “I think there will be a spinoff of EMPIRE, without question,” Daniels says.

5:23 PM: “That’s what’s rattling people; it’s the truth, it’s unsettling,” Daniels says of EMPIRE’s appeal.

And we’re done!

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