Director/writer Theodore Melfi crafted a first rate tale with his 2014 feature St. Vincent, and now he’s behind the camera with Hidden Figures, the true story of three African-American women (Empire’sTaraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Octavia Spencer) who were part of NASA’s operation to send astronaut John Glenn (Glenn Powell) in orbit.
Premiering Wednesday, January 7 on Fox (9 pm et/pt), Empire centers on Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), a hip hop mogul who sits on a very coveted throne in the music business. Due to his failing health, Lucious must decide which of his three sons (Bryshere Gray, Jussie Smollett, Trai Byers)will take over his “empire.”
Further complicating matters is his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), who’s been recently released from prison and plans to stake her claim to the family fortune.
With filmmaker Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, The Paperboy) serving as an executive producer and Timbaland on board as the music supervisor, Empire has collected an impressive cast and crew (the series was created by actor/scribe Danny Strong, who penned the script for Lee Daniels’ The Butler).
For Taraji P. Henson, who previously had a successful run on the CBS series Person of Interest, one reason she joined the series was her overall belief in Fox’s creative direction:
“They’re not afraid to push the envelope. I think Fox is one of the major networks that’s beginning to take that leap – they’re seeing why primetime television shows aren’t being recognized at award shows. Because on HBO and Showtime, they’re making people think. It’s not so safe – that’s life.”
To hear Taraji P. Henson talk about Cookie’s fashion sense on Empire (as well as Cookie’s character arc), click on the audio below:
No Good Deed (PG-13, 84 minutes),a thriller starring Idris Elba as an escaped convict saddled with horrible relationship issues, hits Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD January 6 via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Taraji P. Henson co-stars as the housewife who lets the convict enter her home after his car breaks down in the rain. Her “good deed” leads to nightmarish repercussions for her family and best friend (Leslie Bibb), as the delusional criminal won’t stop until he gets exactly what he wants.
I actually liked this thriller, and there’s an interesting twist that occurs in the third act which makes No Good Deed into a cut above your average B-movie experience. I won’t give out any spoilers, but this flick was one of my cinematic guilty pleasures this year.
Blu-ray Exclusive Features:
“The Thrill of a Good Fight” – Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson talk about the fight sequences in the film.
“Good Samaritan” – Henson and the filmmakers (the picture’s directed by Sam Miller, who worked with Elba on Luther) discuss Terri’s (Henson) decision to let a stranger into her home.
Blu-Ray & DVD Features:
“Making a Thriller” Featurette – Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, director Sam Miller, and producers Glenn S. Gainor and Will Packer talk about the feature.
For Taraji P. Henson, the real scares from No Good Deed wasn’t being chased around set by Idris Elba. Although the thespians square off in the thriller (opening Friday, September 12), the challenge for Henson was after the shooting day was done.
Living in a spacious house in a nice area should only be a good thing, but sometimes the creepiness factor can set in, especially when no one’s around.
“I decided to stay in a five bedroom house in Atlanta,” said Henson, who plays a housewife who’s terrorized by an escaped convict (Elba) in No Good Deed. “By myself – filming this thriller. All night shoots, so I’m getting home at weird hours at night. If you could see me making a mad dash to that other room – I don’t know what the other rooms look like. There was this one door that stayed lock – I was like something is going to come out of that room and get me!”
To hear Taraji P. Henson explain why the house reminded her of a scene from The Shining, click on the Soundcloud audio below:
Today is also Taraji P. Henson’s birthday, and she posted this following tweet on her Twitter account (@TherealTaraji):
MY GOD you guys are filling my heart with so much love and joy today!!!! THANK YOU FOR MY BIRTHDAY WISHES. I appreciate you all!!
In No Good Deed, Idris Elba plays Colin, an escaped convict with a destructive fixation on women. On a stormy night, Colin’s path crosses with a frustrated suburban housewife named Terri (Taraji P. Henson), and what ensues is a deadly battle for survival. Leslie Bibb co-stars as Terri’s best friend, with Henry Simmons (NYPD Blue) playing her neglectful husband.
Elba talked about his own familiarity with No Good Deed director Sam Miller. “Sam and I have worked on Luther quite a bit,” said Elba. “He’s a very good director (and has) a good eye for thriller and tension, and we needed that. We also wanted to bring a slightly different aesthetic to the film. It’s an American film and it has that Friday night popcorn (feel). But this is quite dark and edgy – the way we shot it. We tried to make it feel really claustrophobic and Sam does that really well.”
Elba, who also served as an executive producer No Good Deed and is an associate producer on Luther, is also setting his sights on directing a feature down the road. Thanks to his extensive work on television (The Wire, Luther) and film (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Pacific Rim), directing should be a natural process for Elba.
I asked Elba what strengths he would bring to a project as a director. Click on the Soundcloud bar to hear Elba’s answer:
Opening September 12, No Good Deed centers on Terri (Taraji P. Henson) a former attorney whose days are spent living a seemingly idyllic suburban existence with her successful husband (Henry Simmons) and two kids. When the hubby leaves town, a psychotic, escaped convict (Idris Elba) knocks on her door, asking for assistance.
Realizing she’s helping the wrong guy, Terri ends up fighting for her family’s survival on a storm drenched night.
I’ll be posting more about No Good Deed closer to its release date, but I wanted to share Taraji P. Henson’s comments regarding the reception she received playing determined NYPD homicide detective Joss Carter on Person of Interest. Her answer is below:
“I didn’t realize the love people have for Carter until she was gone. The outpouring is still coming in. (Fans are saying) ‘When are you coming back?’ They’re giving the writers ideas to bring her back in flashbacks! That makes me feel good, because art is powerful in life. It can change a life – save a life. And that’s why I do what I do. I feel like God gave me a gift and I have to share it with the world. Sharing it means helping somebody. That’s why I don’t judge my characters.”
To hear the audio version of Taraji P. Henson’s answer click on the Soundcloud bar below: