Taraji P. Henson to Join Terrence Howard in Lee Daniels' Hip-Hop Drama EMPIRE on Fox

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Taraji P. Henson will join Oscar winner Terrence Howard in Lee Daniels and Danny Strong's upcoming hip-hop drama pilot EMPIRE for Fox. Howard recently starred in the pair's 2013 drama THE BUTLER.

In the project, Henson will take on the role of "Cookie Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), the head of a record label at the center of the drama. The character is described as a total badass who has just been released from prison after serving 17 years for dealing drugs -- money she funneled into Lucious' then-fledgling music empire. Released for good behavior, she now wants what's hers. She's the real force behind his rise to superstardom and champions her son Jamal's (Smollett) career, but that puts her at odds with her ex, who has an issue with their son's homosexuality."

Henson and Howard previously starred in HUSTLE AND FLOW together.

Henson earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress opposite Brad Pitt in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Taraji is a 2011 Emmy nominee for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for Lifetime's Taken From Me. She starred as Detective Joss Carter in the highly rated J.J. Abrams crime drama Person of Interest for CBS opposite Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. Taraji stared in the major hit Think Like a Man, which opened to #1 at the box office and just completed Think Like a Man Too. She will next star in Sony's No Good Deed opposite Idris Elba which opens in September 2014.

In Larry Crowne she co-starred with star and director Tom Hanks alongside Julia Roberts and Cedric the Entertainer. She starred in the hugely successful Karate Kid opposite Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan and in Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. For her role in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, she received the 2009 Diversity Award for Best Actress. She also starred in the upcoming Peep World playing Rainn Wilson's love interest; The Good Doctor with Orlando Bloom and Once Fallen costarring Ed Harris.

Henson received rave reviews for her role in Focus Features' Talk to Me opposite Don Cheadle. She costarred in the ensemble action drama Smokin' Aces with Ben Affleck and Alicia Keys. Henson was named Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Feature Film by the Black Movie Awards and received the BET Best Actress nod for her performance as Shug in the gutsy drama Hustle & Flow also starring Terrence Howard. She starred in Sony's Not Easily Broken opposite Morris Chestnut, opposite Forest Whitaker in Hurricane Season, and with Kathy Bates in Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys.

Henson made her singing debut in Hustle & Flow and performed the Academy Award-winning song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," on the Oscar telecast. She reunited for the third time with John Singleton to film Four Brothers withMark Wahlberg and Andre 3000 for Paramount. Henson costarred with Simon Baker and Sanaa Lathan in Focus Features' Something New. Henson is well remembered for her role as Yvette opposite Tyrese in Baby Boy.

Taraji was a series regular on David E. Kelly's Boston Legal and recurred on ABC's Eli Stone. She was featured in Jamie Foxx's video, "Just Like Me," and also appeared in Estelle's video, "Pretty Please."




More On: Brad Pitt, David Finch, J.J. Abrams, Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer.

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