Taraji P. Henson was apparently destined to play Cookie Lyon on Fox’s breakout hit “Empire.”
The actress landed the coveted role less than a minute into her audition, co-creator Danny Strong told fans Saturday at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas.
“About 30 seconds into Taraji being Cookie, Lee whispered to me, ‘She’s Cookie right?'” Strong said. “Then [Lee said to Henson]: ‘All right bitch, you got the part.'”
Strong went on to say that no other actresses were seriously considered for the role of Lucious Lyon’s ex-wife. He also confirmed reports that producers offered Wesley Snipes the Lucious part, but Snipes declined. Still, Strong noted, “I always wanted Terrence.”
Snipes played a similar character in the 1991 film “New Jack City.”
Last week in an interview with TheWrap, Henson said she initially had concerns about taking the role because Cookie is so sassy.
“I was scared to death. I struggled with it because I was like, ‘Oh, my God. She is so ghetto.’ But then I was like, ‘But she’s so real. She speaks the truth,'” Henson told TheWrap.
Cookie’s “truth” was rewarded last weekend when Henson became the first African-American woman to win Best Actress in a Drama Series honor at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards.
Watch TheWrap’s interview with Henson below.