One of the minds behind “Empire” has completely shot down Mo’Nique’s claim that she was almost cast as high-powered, musical genius Cookie Lyon.
Taraji’s performance as Cookie is hands-down one the best parts of the show; she’s one of the main reasons more and more people keep tuning in every single week as ratings continue to soar. So, when Mo’Nique claimed that she’d lost the opportunity to be Cookie on “Empire” due to Hollywood politics we all had “WTF” moment. No shade, but most people had a hard time believing that Mo’Nique could ever have played the part like Taraji.
Still, Mo pointed to this missed gig as an example of how she’d been blackballed in Hollywood.
“When [Lee Daniels] called me up, he offered me a role on ‘Empire’ as Cookie,” Mo’Nique told “Inside Edition,” adding that Lee told her he wanted her to do a screen test for the part. She was excited for the chance, but she had a hard time getting the details from him in the week after the call. “When he finally returned my call, he says, ‘Listen, the executives at Fox said that you’re difficult.”
Now, “Empire” co-creator Danny Strong has spoken out to refute her story. When he spoke with “Sway In The Morning,” he didn’t deny that Mo’s name came up during talks for “Empire.” However, he made it clear that she wasn’t ever going to be considered for the role.
“We discussed Mo’Nique one very briefly. We never offered her the part. She wasn’t going to be Cookie,” he said. “Mo’Nique is so talented that she’d be great in almost anything. But Cookie was always Taraji.”
Mo’Nique let the issue drop there, opting instead to support “Empire” despite whatever drama may be surrounding her relationship with Lee.
It would have been nice if Mo could have been part of “Empire” (but not as Cookie), but she’s focusing on her next project “Blackbird” right now. The film is due out next month.