‘Empire’: Chris Rock Was Secretly Playing a Cannibal

'Empire': Chris Rock Was Secretly Playing
Rex Shutterstock

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?

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  1. Cindy Starkey says:


  2. Mama Grizzly says:

    I am glad they did not put that in, TV has enough gore, vampirism, and violence. Empire is for those of us who like glamour, drama and opulence.

  3. Jerome says:

    The entire was gross! I can’t believe FOX would show that was meant to inflame a situation that has been power keg for months. Guess what my father and uncle are both in prison for crimes they committed and I don’t want them out! Stop promoting for criminals to go free. I’m done with FOX.

  4. aziza says:

    I thought there was supposed to something significant about what he was eating. I kept asking my son, “what is he eating?”. I think cannibalism would have been a good addition because Chris Rock just wasn’t scary enough. I mean, he’s a comedian. A good way a comedian can pull off being sinister is by being a little insane acting. Cannibalism would have brought it home.

    • Joy Karen says:

      also casting chris rock as such a VILLAIN was mistake because he’s too funny in real life to have been taken seriously as a mad-dog killer.

    • Joy Karen says:

      @aziza, i agree wholeheartedly. couldn’t understand why chris was eating so slowly or why the camera kept focusing on his unidentifiable food. didn’t know anything about the cannibal aspect until i just now read this Variety article. talk about cogitive dissonance, why would chris’ character be so comfortable using a knife and fork in such a genteel manner to eat human flesh? as deray davis’ character looked frightened, chris’ character should have been eating with his hands, sloppily to give us the impression that this unidentifiable meat could possibly be human flesh.Or maybe, they could have shown deray davis having some fingers cut off earlier and then having chris eating something that were vaguely reminiscent of fingers but he’s not quite sure. okay, asziza, now i’m scaring myself. so i’ll stop now. your comment was interesting though so i had to reply.

  5. Yogi says:

    Was it really necessary for him to be a cannibal? It just a strange and unnecessary story line on a show that already has a great following
    I don’t think it fit in the show. It cheapens the show.

    • Chelle says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Hannibal Lector would eat his “human” at the dinner table, with candles, silverware, the good china the works. He made a guy eat his own brain at the table…sick, now I gotta stop too.

    • Wlee says:

      Agreed, there’s fine very line between being creatively different and original and just being silly or creepy and I think if they had highlighted that in the show it would have crossed that line.

  6. Maryellen says:

    The “spoiler alert” they are talking about is that he gets killed not the cannabalism. Come on people.

  7. Angelina says:

    Too much sexual act @ that time slot.

  8. Sonya says:

    No it seemed like Chris rock character was getting special treatment because of his reputation on the streets there was no clue on cannabis in the scene

  9. Rhonda Espinoza says:

    Loved the first episode, but missed last years “limited commercials” format! There were soooo many! It was great last year being able to watch big chunks of show without all the ads. I hope they go back to that, otherwise I’ll DVR it and watch it at 10.

  10. PG says:

    Doesn’t the headline undercut the spoiler warning in the opening line…?

  11. coolada says:

    Love this show…can’t wait tell next week.

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