Jamal Lyon has already gone through a lot of changes in Empire‘s second season, and we’re only two episodes deep. Jussie Smollett, who plays the singer-turned-CEO, recently told The Hollywood Reporter that Jamal’s not ready to be the head of a company, and just how much that slap from Cookie really hurt.
At the end of last season, Lucious (Terrence Howard) put Jamal in charge of Empire, which was a bit of a shock considering their tumultuous relationship. Jussie says that despite how everything is looking up for Jamal, he will continue to seek his father’s approval this season. Viewers will get a chance to see how this affects his tenure as the Empire leader as well. Via THR:
“For someone like Jamal, the approval and love of your father is like a drug and he is a drug addict,” Jussie says. “He is addicted to Lucious. He is addicted to the approval and the love and the acceptance of Lucious. So he’s probably the most vulnerable to stupid situations and bad situations because he’s following behind Lucious under the disguise of, ‘Oh, I’m a leader.'”
Jussie also explains that the dynamic of his relationship with Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) changes. Now that Cookie and company have decided to leave Empire, things are tense with everyone. And that slap from the season premiere? Jussie coaxed Taraji into slapping him with all her might to make it believable for the audience at home:
“I didn’t want it to be a stunt. [Taraji] said “Yeah, I’m not going to slap you hard,” and I said, “No, I want you to slap me as hard as you can.” “Well not as hard as I can.” “No, Taraji, as hard as you can.” And then she said, “Look, I’m from DC, don’t play with me,” and when she did it, she literally did it as hard as she could. And that was a very, very real moment. it’s heartbreaking to watch every time because it felt so real when we did it. After they said, “Cut,” we went off to our separate corners, we didn’t speak. And then right after, we’re right back to being us again. I love working with her. It made for a really, really great scene. But my face was hella swollen afterwards, that’s for damn sure.”
Now that Lucious made bail in yesterday’s episode (“Without a Country”), Jamal will be getting even more into his music again, since it was hard to balance the two as CEO.
“Jamal now feels that there is room for him to have a little bit of freedom to get into the studio and that’s a great thing for him. We’ll start to see Jamal settling back into who he is because he’s going to be able to create.”
We just wanna know, can we get another “Drip Drop” and “You’re So Beautiful?” That’s all we want.
Empire airs Wednesdays on FOX at 9 p.m.
SOURCE: THR | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty/FOX