Mo’Nique Says She Was Supposed to Play Empire’s Cookie First

Mo’Nique as Cookie? Photo: Vincent Sandoval/Getty and FOX

The war of words between Mo’Nique and her Precious director Lee Daniels is only getting worse. After the two seemed to have a misunderstanding about comments to The Hollywood Reporter regarding Mo’Nique being “blackballed” by Hollywood, she later accused Daniels of having a problem with her not directly thanking him in her 2010 Oscars speech, as well as with his paying her only $50,000 for her winning role. She also previously noted that Daniels had offered her parts in The Butler and Empire that, for whatever reason, didn’t pan out.

Mo’Nique now tells Access Hollywood that Daniels offered her the part of Cookie Lyon before Taraji P. Henson. She says Daniels asked her to do a screen test as a “technicality,” but after not hearing from the director for four days, she was then told that Fox thought she was “difficult to work with.” Empire co-creator Danny Strong has since spoken out against Mo’Nique on Twitter, saying she was never offered roles in either The Butler or Empire and that Henson was always the first choice for Cookie.

Mo’Nique, for her part, says she’s “not pulling anything out of the air” and has emails to back up all her claims.

Mo’Nique Says She Was Supposed to Play Cookie