In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lee Daniels said that Macy Gray, who was one of the first Empire cast members announced, was cut from the show after Fox didn’t approve of her story arc.
While discussing Fox’s involvement with the show, Daniels made a point of saying how hands-off the network was, adding that he only got “one major note: to take someone out of the series.”
“There was a character that I wrote into the original pilot who was Hakeem’s love interest, a mother figure, [played by] Macy Gray,” Daniels told THR. “There was a love scene, and they said, ‘This is too much.’ But other than that, we were on the same page.”
When it was announced that Gray was joining the cast, her character was described as “Tasha, a woman having an affair with the much-younger Hakeem Lyon, over whom she exercises considerable influence and control.” The interesting thing is, Hakeem’s love interest on the show is an older woman, who exercised considerable influence and control over him — the only difference is that she was played by supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the multiple reports from last winter that Gray’s arc “was scrapped after she exhibited erratic behavior on the show’s Chicago set.”