‘Empire’ Creator Reveals Kanye West Interviews Was His Inspiration

Project Casting

Co-Creator of ‘Empire’ reveals his inspiration for the characters and dialogue behind the hit TV series.

You cannot deny how talented Danny Strong is. The actor/writer has written two award-winning political dramas for HBO, two ‘Hunger Games’ movies, ‘The Butler, and now the most successful TV show in the last twenty years, Empire. He certainly has come a long way from a small role in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’.

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Danny Strong was recently interviewed on KCRW’s The Business podcast, and he revealed how he was able to write a show that was mainly focused on African-American culture.

“As far as my own experience in the African-American community, the truth is, when it comes for me and writing, I don’t write anything that I have ever had any experience in,” Strong said. “For me, it’s about what interests me, what excites me. Nothing is about my own life experience.”

Danny Strong also revealed where he came up with the idea for ‘Empire’.

“I was in my car in L.A., and I was driving around, and I heard a news story about Puffy, and I just thought, ‘Hip-hop is so cool. That’s what I should do next, something in hip-hop.’ And I immediately began thinking King Lear and The Lion in Winter, and that’s how I work. I go to classical archetypes.”

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com
Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

Danny Strong also revealed where he was inspired. “To procrastinate and for inspiration, I started watching Kanye West interviews. After 45 minutes… I said, ‘Alright, I’m good. I know how to do this.’”

Kanye West Gif

I can only wonder if this interview was Strong’s inspiration for Terrence Howard’s character, Luscious Lyon.

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Image Credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com H/T: Uproxx