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Empire - Episode 3.11 - Play On - Promo, Interview, Promotional Photos & Press Release



What would you say is the overall theme for the second half of the season?

The themes we laid out in the first half of the season are still very much in play. It's Cookie and Lucious primarily: What are they to one another? What can they be? And will they ever be again? It's all within this context of this battle for the soul of the family. Jamal is still fighting for his family and in the second half of the season, we're going to see that battle play out. Can Jamal really save the family's soul in the fact of all the darkness that is Lucious and his influence over the family? Can Lucious be saved, or if not, can the others be saved from his dark influence? That really is what we play out and it gets played out between these two men and the music they're making, the albums they're making. They're fighting this battle in the arena of music, but it contains all of the wishes and drives that each of those men have.

You set up a very interesting dynamic with Jamal and Rumer Willis' character. What will we see with that going forward?

In taking on this story of Jamal and his opiate addiction, we really had to take it very seriously. We can't just send Jamal to rehab, have him come home and it's all over. The relationship that a person makes in that situation often becomes a profound relationship but also full of the challenges of maintaining one's health and sobriety and so Tory Ash is all that for Jamal. They have this deep connection but she also is a more fraught character than Jamal who poses dangers to him but faces the same dangers that he faces. And she's a musician as well; we wanted to really introduce another great and fresh musical element into the show. We have our reference points and Rumer is so gifted, and is so exactly what we talked about in the writers' room for this character. I won't mention the references because she emerges as a character and a voice unto herself, but you can kind of imagine form the history of music some of the artists that we're talking about. She falls into that trope of troubled artists and tormented musicians.


Nia Long ("Beaches"), Phylicia Rashad ("The Cosby Show") and Rumer Willis Guest-Star

Cookie tries to move forward with Angelo, while struggling with guilt over her run-in with Lucious. Meanwhile, Leah seeks out Tariq's help in taking down Anika, and Jamal and Tory team up in the studio in the all-new "Play On" episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, March 29 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (EMP-311) (TV-14 D, L, S, V)

Cast: Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon, Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon, Bryshere 'Yazz' Gray as Hakeem Lyon, Trai Byers as Andre Lyon, Grace Byers as Anika Calhoun, Gabourey Sidibe as Becky, Ta'Rhonda Jones as Porsha and Serayah as Tiana, Bre-Z as Freda Gatz, Xzibit as Shine Johnson and Morocco Omari as Tariq Cousins.

Guest Cast: Rumer Willis as Tory Ash, Taye Diggs as Angelo DuBois, Leslie Uggams as Leah Walker, Andre Royo as Thurston "Thirsty" Rawlings, Eric Lane as Drop, Sierra A. McClain as Nessa, AzMarie Livingston as Chicken, Ajiona Alexus as Teenage Loretha, Jeremy Carver as Teenage Lucious, Ezri Walker as Zeah, Juan Antonio as Philip and Tobias Truvillion as D-Major

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