Brow Beat

Lee Daniels’ Empire Looks Intriguing

One of the best things about the 2005 film Hustle & Flow was the onscreen chemistry between Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson—watching them perfect “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” in the recording studio is electric. So knowing that the two will be reunited in a new series on Fox—and another high stakes musical drama at that, with controversial filmmaker Lee Daniels involved—it’s easy to get excited.

A new trailer for Empire, which centers around Lucius Lyons (Howard), the CEO of a successful recording company, has arrived, and it suggests that the collaboration will be every bit as dramatic as one would expect a Daniels production to be. Lyons is about to take Empire Entertainment public, but has also learned that he has a life-threatening illness and not much longer to live. He pits his three sons against one another in hopes that one of them will succeed him at the company. Meanwhile, his ex-wife Cookie (Henson) has re-emerged from a 17-year-long prison stint for selling drugs—which helped finance Empire in its early days—and wants a cut of the money she missed out on.

Daniels’ films tend to be uneven but are almost never uninteresting. This looks like another fascinating romp, and if nothing else we’ll get to see Howard and Henson trading verbal jabs on a weekly basis.