If it ever came down to a final battle between “Empire’s” music mogul Cookie Lyon or “Proud Mary’s” stone-cold hit woman Mary, the actress who knows more about both these characters than anybody — Taraji P. Henson — says these two ruthless characters would rather join forces than fight.
“I think Cookie would hire Mary to do some of her dirty work,” Henson laughs.
“Proud Mary,” about an assassin working for Boston gangsters whose life gets turned around when she meets a young boy when a professional hit goes bad, has Henson pulling double-duty as both star and executive producer.
“When your name is on the project, the success or the failure falls on you. You can’t go: Oh, I’m just the actor,” she tells Made in Hollywood reporter Damaris Diaz. “So I really have to get out on the streets and promote and push and call on friends to have favors done. It’s a different hat. It’s not just showing up for work and go home and sleep.”
Juggling her busy schedule, Henson had to jump into the role after taking only five days break after the last season of “Empire” finished.
“I really had no time to train,” she said. “The great thing about it, and the reason why I took the film, was that I wasn’t intimidated. Not at all by the weapons, because I go to the gun range. I’ve played cops. I played a sniper before. It’s really: Just show me how to operate this particular weapon.”
But he says she was a little concerned about the fight scenes.
“You know a stunt can go wrong and you can lose your life,” she says. “But I was in great care. I was in good hands. I actually wanted to do all of my own stunts. Because as a producer, it has to look good. The most dangerous stuff they pulled me out of and put my stunt double in. But for the most part, that’s me.”
So what did she learn from her latest tough character? “Pretty much I can do anything,” she says, bursting into laughter. “I proved to myself at 47 that I still got it! All of it!”