In case you were wondering how intense it is to work on "Empire," Taraji P. Henson has an answer for you. When she saw some of what they had planned for Cookie Lyon in Season 2, she expressed some anxiety about it to executive producer Ilene Chaiken, who responded by saying, "We're here to fuck shit up."
"I'm always blown away by the stories they come up with," Henson said, speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour. "It's always challenging me as an artist to not be afraid of it."
Chaiken was a little sheepish about being quoted on that particular line, but elaborated by saying, "We want to continue to make the audience gasp and laugh and scream and cry."
That said, creator Lee Daniels was aware of concerns about maintaining the show's breakneck pace in the second season. "That was a question that came up in the writers' room that we thought it was fast and could we bring it back a bit."
That concern was somewhat exacerbated by Fox requesting a longer season this time through, but Chaiken said the way the show was structured, with "ten episodes and eight, with a hiatus in between," was helping them maintain the pace.
"I was a little nervous about the actors. It's hard to turn out that kind of work," said Daniels, who also thought the hiatus was making a big difference in keeping the actors rested.