Empire is about to come back showing what other crazy things are going to come between the Lyon family. Although the musical drama quickly became a hit, there are a lot of things that probably flew over fans’ heads. So what have you been missing? Here are seven things you probably never knew about the show.
1. Taraji said she would only do the role if Terrence Howard played the lead
The two did so well together on Oscar-winning Hustle & Flow, that they knew they couldn’t work without each other.
2. Jamal’s story as a gay man is based on Lee Daniels’ experience
The show creator also dealt with homophobia from his family when he came out as gay. So he decided to use the character and the show to talk about homophobia in the black community. The show actually got his brother to apologize to him after years of not talking to him, according to GQ.
3. The iconic trash can scene was also based on a real moment
You might have chalked this moment up as the writers looking for a dramatic event, but it was based on real life. Lee Daniels’ father had once put him a trash can. The creator and his mother were tearfully watching the scene while it was filmed to make sure it was right.
4. The song “You’re So Beautiful” from the white party is about Gabourey Sidibe
The song used for Jamal to come out was actually a song written by Jussie for Gabourey. “We were just talking and joking about how dope Gabby is,” Jussie explained at Entertainment Weekly Fest. “She’s so funny. She’s so confident. She’s so sexy. [But] everybody needs to hear every once in a while you’re so beautiful, So we wrote it about Gabby.”
5. Although the show takes place in New York, it’s shot in Chicago
Were you fooled?
6. Elle Dallas is actually based on Whitney Houston
Many people probably thought the character could have been based on Courtney Love herself. The character was changed from being R&B royalty after casting the role they changed the character to be a rock artist.
7. The show is based off the play, King Lear
The tragedy also has a king going crazy while having three daughters fight for their right to his throne.
8. Danny Strong (from Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is an executive producer of the show
This is probably the last celebrity you’d expect to help create and write for the show. He actually came up with the idea after hearing a news story on the radio about Puffy. He then got the idea to make a show about the crazy life of hip hop.
9. Timbaland produces all of the music on the show
Timbaland has made so many hits with people like Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, and more. So that’s the reason you find all of the music on the show so damn catchy.
10. Jussie Smollett is Jurnee’s brother
Jurnee got her start as a child actor on Cosby, but it looks like her brother has finally got some success in the acting game too. She is now on the new show, Underground.