Spoiler alert: Do not read until you’ve watched the season two premiere of “Empire.”
Here’s something you probably didn’t realize about Chris Rock’s “Empire” character: the comedian was playing a cannibal.
Rock’s Frank Gathers, for whom Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Lucious (Terrence Howard) worked in their drug business days, was originally intended to have an extra-creepy edge to him. In the scene where Rock interrogates Cookie’s cousin while cutting up unidentifiable meat, “Empire” makeup artist Karen Lynn Accattato explained to the Observer that creator Lee Daniels wanted to show Rock eating human flesh.
“Lee wanted him to be a cannibal, but I guess it was too much for Fox,” Accattato said. “During the filming for scenes with Chris, Lee Daniels had this inspiration. He wanted to take it to the next level. Because that’s what Lee does. On the makeup department, they told us, ‘We want him to be eating this guy’s flesh. Come up with some flesh.'”
She added, “We actually went to craft service, grabbed some steak and cut off the fat, and glued it on to the actor’s skin. When Lee Daniels says he wants an effect, you have to get that effect.”
Sadly, Frank’s darker tendencies are unlikely to ever see the light of day (despite Cookie referring to him as “Hannibal”), since the character came to a suitably vicious end in the season premiere, after Lucious bought off Frank’s men and had him killed — but not before took the opportunity to twist the knife and told Frank he planned to sign the gangster’s musically-inclined daughter to Empire and “slip her my bone.” Such a charmer.
“Empire” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
What did you think of the “Empire” season premiere? Did you catch a hint of Frank’s unusual appetite?