Saturday, January 17, 2015

EMPIRE: The Middle Son, Jussie Smollett

If you're not watching EMPIRE on Fox, it is time to start! Based in part on William Shakespeare's King Lear and James Goldman's The Lion in Winter, creators Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have created a dynamic family drama worthy of it's title. Terrence Howard is great as the family patriarch, and Taraji P. Henson tears up every scene she is in.

Like the original DALLAS (not the pathetic TNT re-make) the stage is set with three brothers pitted against each other to take over the family business. Youngest brother Hakeem (Bryshere Gray shown below) is who Daddy is pushing, young hot and talented.

Eldest brother Andre (Trai Byers shown below) may seem the likeliest to take over the family business, but his struggle with bi-polar may get in his way, but not... if his ambitious wife Rhonda has anything to say about it.

That leaves the middle son, in..well the middle. Far more talented than his younger brother but without his father's support. He does have mama on his side though but that may be more of hindrance than a help. Actor Jussie Smollett is a stand out, great actor, great looking and a voice which had me instantly heading to find his song after the pilot.

A former child actor (Mighty Ducks), Jussie does a great job playing Jamal, gay in a family where it is either disapproved of (Dad), or used to push the business. (Mom) EMPIRE beautifully weaved in a gay brother whose sexuality is crucial to character and story, but yet such a small part of what the character is all about. If you haven't yet sampled EMPIRE, find somewhere to devour the first two episodes. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Above: Singing siblings Jamal and Hakeem.

Jussie with Rafael de La Fuente on Empire

'In the set of Empire setting my performance piece & getting that oil love from Karyn and Jess. Because it wouldn't be a Lee Daniels production if we stayed clothed all day.

Below: Amazing shot from photographer Jerris Madison

I usually have rule about not posting leaked selfies, but given Jussie bared his backside in the 2012 film, The Skinny, I made an exception.
 The Skinny (2012)

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