‘Empire’ is back! The show returns March 22 and HollywoodLife.com spoke to star Jussie Smollett EXCLUSIVELY at a spring premiere screening about how Jamal is going to be handling everything after rehab, taking sides in Cookie and Lucious’ latest battle and more! Spoilers ahead!
Where is Jamal at mentally since going to rehab when the show returns?
He’s ready to get back to work. He feels like he’s been taken away from his work for too long. The last thing you want to do as an artist is lose it, especially when you feel like you’re getting your mojo back. You don’t want to lose it. You got to get it out right away. So that’s where he’s at, but the problem is that, since he’s still in rehab, who knows if he’s at a point where he needs to be out. With him again, music has served as a therapy and to the Lyons forever. He’s going to keep going into fix-it mode, wanting to fix his family, which is a classic case when you get out of rehab and you’re dealing with some sort of addiction. It’s really a thing of wanting to go into fix-it mode for everything around you and make it right. You want to make it good and clean and beautiful, but he’s dealing with the Lyon family so sh*t happens.
Do you think he’s going to be able to perform and finally move past those demons?
I hope so. I think that what we’re seeing is that he’s fighting those demons. He’s kind of like the phoenix. He’s fighting those demons and by fighting those demons, he’s really making himself feel better or he thinks that he is. We’ll have to see what happens.
What can you say about Rumer Willis’ character?
They find each other in a space where it’s very lonely and cold. Like I’ve said, they both come from such a large world, especially Jamal with his stardom that’s rising but also the stardom that his family has always had. Having such a big light on him, and then having to basically downsize it and downsize your personal self and humble yourself and realize that you’re much smaller than you thought. He finds solace and understanding in Tory Ash, who’s been through even more than he has. He finds maybe, you know, a friend.
It looks like Cookie and Lucious are setting up for another big battle, how is Jamal going to fare with that?
Again, we’re going to see him really trying to be that spiritual guide of lets do this for the music, lets do this for the family, and it really is a tug of war with the family. The cool thing is that Jamal isn’t really picking sides this time. He won’t get any slaps from Cookie. He gets slaps from Cookie but not for that reason. I think that that’s probably a healthier way for him because I think he takes things in.
How does the season 3 finale compare to season 2?
What I can say is that what I’ve been hearing is that it has all the elements of what made people fall in love with the show. You’re laughing, you’re crying, you’re angry, you’re entertained, but at the end of the day it’s about a family, and it’s all of those things. We’re not all comedy, we’re not all drama, we’re just life. It has all of that.
Empire’s spring premiere will air Wednesday, March 20, at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.
HollywoodLifers, are you glad Jamal’s not going to be choosing sides? Let us know!