Au Revoir: Lee Daniels and Taraji P. Henson Take ‘Empire’ to Paris

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Everyone wants a taste of TV’s favorite Cookie. Taraji P. Henson, who plays the character on the U.S. hit series Empire, and the show’s director Lee Daniels, shared America’s new obsession in Paris, France at the Series Mania Festival. Series Mania was launched by Forum des Images in 2010 and has evolved into a monumental event solely dedicated to the international production of current TV series.

[Related: USC Responds to Taraji P. Henson’s Claims of Her Son Being Racially Profiled]

At Series Mania 2015, the first two episodes of Empire were screened and international TV lovers got a glimpse into the fictitious Lyon family, sources report. After the airing, Daniels opened up to the packed theater to talk the making of Empire. He also showed a sneak peek into the second season, which will delve more into the backstory of the breakout character Cookie Lyon.

The event was full of surprises as Daniels topped it all off when he introduced Taraji P. Henson. Series Mania goers reacted with applause, screams and a standing ovation.

“‘When I played Precious in Harlem with 300 black people, it played as a comedy. And then I played it at Sundance for white people and it played as a piece of art,'” said Daniels when he was asked about doing such a “soapy” drama. “‘So for me, I’m always laughing. It goes back to being bullied as a child. I have to find the humor… Yes, I want you to feel what I’m feeling. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, I want you to laugh because we laugh telling the story. We have a fun time telling serious matters. If you cry then there is no hope.'”

Henson went on to add, “‘If we played only over-the-top, we wouldn’t be in Paris right now. No one would identify.'”

Paris’ local broadcast network M6 reportedly has rights to Empire and will air the series later this year.

Empire’s star Taraji P. Henson is the official brand ambassador for American Black Film Festival in New York City, June 11-14.

Black Enterprise and Film Life present The 19th Annual American Black Film Festival June 11-June 14 in New York City. To register now and find out more visit, Join us at The American Black Film Festival, the largest gathering for film and TV enthusiasts.