“We Never Offered Her The Part”: “Empire” Co-Creator Says Mo’Nique Is Mistaken, And That She Was Never Asked To Play Cookie

March 3, 2015  |  

Ever since Mo’Nique revealed that Lee Daniels told her she had been blackballed in Hollywood for being too difficult, the whole story has turned into a messy game of he said, she said. Daniels told Don Lemon that Mo’Nique was blackballed due to the demands she was making, demands he didn’t really elaborate on:

“…we were on the campaign, she was making unreasonable demands, and I remember thinking ‘this is when reverse racism happens’. You have to thank the producers of the film, you have to thank the studio, and I think she didn’t understand that. People aren’t going to respond well if you don’t. I love her, I’ve spoken to her. She’s brilliant, and I like working with brilliant people but sometimes artists get in their own way.”

But Mo’Nique responded by saying it was the studio that was making unreasonable demands, not her:

“Actually, there were no demands. There was a request from the movie studio, and they called and requested that I fly to France for the Cannes Film Festival. I simply said, ‘I respectfully decline.’ Because if you can remember at the time there was a talk show called, ‘The Mo’Nique Show,’ I was doing a comedy tour, I was actually in the awards season of the awards, and I’m also a wife and I’m a mommy. So when they called, I had a couple of days just down time, I wanted to spend that with my husband and my kids.”

On top of debunking Lee Daniels’ claims that she made some over-the-top demands, Mo’Nique also claimed that one of the roles she lost due to Hollywood politics was the opportunity to play Cookie on “Empire.” She told “Inside Edition” that this was the way things went down with Daniels:

“When he called me up, he offered me a role on ‘Empire’ as Cookie. He sent over the sides, he said ‘listen, they want to do a screen test with you.’ I said ‘no problem!’ 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.'”

But “Empire” co-creator and actor, Danny Strong, says that Mo’Nique is mistaken. In a chat with the good folks at “Sway in the Morning,” he claimed that she was never offered the role because Taraji P. Henson was always the actress they wanted to go with.

“We discussed Mo’Nique once very briefly. We never offered her the part. She wasn’t going to be Cookie.”

Strong would later try and do damage control by tweeting that “Mo’Nique is so talented she’d be great in almost anything. But Cookie was always Taraji.”

Yesterday, Mo’Nique responded but refrained from pettiness. She let her followers know that no matter what is going on with her and Daniels, and even with Strong, everyone should support the show.

 

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