Mo’Nique is telling her side of the Empire casting story and what could have been for Fox’s new hit show.
“Mr. Daniels [show executive producer, Lee Daniels] offered me the part of Cookie,” Mo’Nique claims in an interview with Access Hollywood, “and I have the e-mails and the sides to go along with it, and what he said was, ‘I’m new to this TV thing. This is just a technicality… you have the role.’ OK. I have the e-mails. Well, four days have gone by because I didn’t receive a phone call or another e-mail for the location of where I was supposed to go to do this screen test.”
Instead, that call came in the form of a conversation that Fox thought Mo’Nique was difficult, according to the actress. Taraji P. Henson landed the role of Cookie instead.
Empire cocreator, Danny Strong, rebuked Mo’Nique’s claims on Twitter.
According to Mo’Nique, this isn’t the first time Daniels has lied to her about a role. She was also supposed to be cast in The Butler.
“Mr. Daniels and I had a conversation. I had the script, the e-mail that goes along with it in reference to the character, read the script, loved it. Then I never heard from Mr. Daniels again, and the next I saw was that Oprah Winfrey is now playing the part.”
Though Mo’Nique insisted there is no beef between she and Daniels, the actress was also sure to say that the director wasn’t always truthful about the things that happened between them.
“My relationship with Lee Daniels is I love that brother,” Mo’Nique explained. “I also have empathy for my brother because when I watch him do interviews and I watch him say things that he and I both know that they’re inaccurate, that makes me have empathy.”
Watch Mo’Nique’s full interview with Access Hollywood below.