"Empire" Creator: It's Partly Based on Jay-Z's Story

Danny Strong, the co-creator of "Empire," says that Jay-Z was an inspiration for the show.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Empire writer Danny Strong went on Sway in the Morning and talked about how the show he created with Lee Daniels is taking over the world.

Some of the topics discussed: the rumors that Wesley Snipes and Mo'Nique were originally going to play Lucious and Cookie (half true), whose genius idea it was to cast Courtney Love and how people react to finding out that Empire (and The Butler) were written by a white Jewish guy.  

When Sway wanted to know if Strong was feeling any backlash over the series' main character having a past in the drug game, Strong explained that the Kennedys and Jay-Z were inspirations for when they were coming up with the Lucious character.

"The Jay-Z story, which very much inspired Lucious Lyon, certain elements of Lucious Lyon, was that story," Strong responded. "For me the story of people who have some sort of criminal past, or gangster past are not limited to black culture. ... Our goal is to tell a great story, and to do the best show we can. You can cross the line and just be totally inappropriate, but we're not doing that. ... You know, Joe Kennedy too, is another (person who rose to power from a criminal past)."

For his part, Sway casually (and repeatedly) dropped the fact that he needs to appear on the show again.  


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