How would you pump yourself up to craft the twists and turns of hip-hop soap Empire? How about if you don’t work in the music business? How about if you’re a white guy? Danny Strong knows — he has to, as the show’s co-creator. (He’s also a part-time that guy, playing Elijah’s ex on Girls, Danny Siegel on Mad Men, Jonathan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Doyle on Gilmore Girls). Here’s how, as he told KCRW:
“I was in my car in L.A., and I was driving around, and I heard a news story about Puffy, and I just thought, ‘Hip-hop is so cool. That’s what I should do next, something in hip-hop.’ And I immediately began thinking King Lear and The Lion in Winter, and that’s how I work. I go to classical archetypes.”
And how else do you, a white guy, write that patented Empire drama? You listen to Kanye: “To procrastinate and for inspiration, I started watching Kanye West interviews. After 45 minutes … I said, ‘All right, I’m good. I know how to do this.’” You know what this means? Let’s get Kanye on Empire. He can write his own lines.