Taraji P. Henson is killing her role as Cookie every week on Empire, but apparently, she wasn’t one of the original choices for the character.
She revealed that the director called her up to offer her the role, and even sent over a script for the show. Apparently, the decision to choose her had fallen through, as Daniels told Mo’Nique that Fox executives thought she was too difficult to work with.
She told the hosts:
Maybe four days had gone by, and I hadn’t heard anything. So I’m trying to reach out to him to say, what time do I need to be in? Where do I need to be? When he finally returned the call, he says listen, the executives at Fox said that you’re difficult.
Lee went on CNN, where he talked with Don Lemon about Mo’s comments, telling the host:
She was making unreasonable demands, and she wasn’t thinking — this was when reverse racism was happening, I think.
The co-creator of the show seemed to make Mo’s story seem a little fishy, as he told Vulture:
Well, I don’t know if Lee Daniels had a conversation with Mo’Nique about it that I don’t know about. I know that Lee and I were partners on this project, and we discussed Mo’Nique once very briefly, and from my knowledge — unless there was some conversation I never knew about — we never offered her the part and she wasn’t going to be Cookie. We both think she’s incredibly talented and genius, but we didn’t think she was right for the part. … It was always Taraji.
Meanwhile, Mo’Nique is also clarifying her statement from her essay, claiming that Lee Daniels told her she had been blackballed in Hollywood. She went on Good Morning America, where she denied saying that she had been blackballed, as it was the feelings of Lee Daniels.
She told the hosts:
“People were saying someone needs to teach Monique a lesson because she’s not playing the game,” Mo’Nique explained during her chat with GMA. “And she’s going to get in her own way of winning this award because it seems like she’s choosing her family over Hollywood.”
“I had no idea because I don’t think that Hollywood has turned its nose up to me,” she said, when asked if she was aware that the industry had apparently shunned her. “I think that those are feelings that Mr. Daniels is having and then he said there were things that Monique, she didn’t thank the producers and the studio. And that’s just not things that you do. Well, it had nothing to do with the producers nor the studio. Mr. Daniels had a problem that I didn’t say his name the night of the Oscar awards.”
Mo’Nique is still keeping up with her acting in indie films, so we can look forward to more ground-breaking roles from her in the future.