Empire star Jussie Smollett will be reuniting onscreen with his little sister actress Jurnee Smollett when he guest stars in Jurnee’s new WGN series Underground.
Empire’s Jussie Smollett is going back in time for a family reunion.
The actor will guest star on WGN’s upcoming period drama Underground opposite his sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell, the network announced Wednesday.
Underground follows a group of slaves planning a daring escape from a Georgia plantation to cross 600 miles to freedom. Along the way, they are aided by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad as they attempt to evade the people charged with bringing them back, dead or alive.
According to the Hollywood Reporter Underground will premiere in 2016.
The Wrap has an interview with Empire star Jussie Smollett.
Jussie talks about what has and has not changed in his life, the toughest scene he’s filmed on Empire, how much his character of Jamal has meant to young people and future projects.
Emmy Breakout Star Jussie Smollett Talks ‘Empire’ Episode When ‘Jamal Got His Balls,’ Cut Cookie Scene
“One of my favorite scenes that I ever shot with Taraji was cut from the pilot,” actor tells TheWrap. “It was this whole scene inside of an SUV and we were joking and it was just such a great scene and it was an emotional scene as well.”
When asked how his life has changed since “Empire” became a sensation, Jussie Smollett laughs. “It’s probably easier to say what has not changed,” he says.
“The great side of this is that I have a platform to show people what I can do, what I love to do and what I have been doing for so long.” Smollett was a child actor who appeared in The Mighty Ducks and North, as well as a recording artist who released the 2012 EP The Poisoned Hearts Club and subsequently signed a recording contract with Columbia.
But nothing he’d done previously had the reach of Empire, on which he plays the gay son of Terrence Howard‘s homophobic music-business mogul. The actor, who came out as gay on “The Ellen DeGeneres” show in March, says he’s heard countless stories about how much his character has meant to young people who might otherwise feel alone.
“I don’t believe you need a big hit TV show or a hit record to make an impact, but I’m glad that I can affect lives in the way my life was affected by people I looked up to,” he says. “It’s so amazing to be able to maybe change minds by simply doing what you love. If that’s not fulfilling, I don’t know what is.”
JOSEPH KAPSCH: What has changed about your life now that “Empire” has struck and become this big monster of a hit?
JUSSIE SMOLLETT: Everything. [laughs] What has not changed about my life? It’s probably easier to say what has not changed. My family and friends have not changed at all. But what has changed, the great side of it is that I have a platform to show people what I can do, what I love to do and what I’ve been doing for so long. And a couple people are listening now. So that’s a good thing for any artist. Any person period. The other side of it is the scrutiny that comes along with it. And people all up in your business, but again that goes with the territory –I guess. The great, not even the good, so outweighs the bad because it’s been such a phenomenal way to not only show my art and my creative side but also show, bigger than that, the side of me that really cares and people listening to what I’m saying about social issues as well. That to me is more important than anything. And I’ve said this a million times before. I don’t believe you need a hit TV show or a hit record to make an impact, but I’m glad that what I was saying years ago is now, you know, can now somehow affect people’s lives in the way that my life has been affected by people I looked up to.
What was the toughest scene you had this season on “Empire”?
That’s a good one because there were a lot. Probably the toughest scene were actually two scenes. The scene with the brothers in the elevator. That was great. It was so emotional. We were all so emotional that day because we all love each other like brothers. It was all just so real. Those tears, those cries, those screams, they were all real. We stayed very disconnected for the main part of the day and when we came together for that scene, that’s exactly what happened. We came together. The other one was probably the scene where Jamal lets it all go and tells his father “I don’t want your money. I’m leaving the loft.” That was hard because I just love Terrence so much. And I respect him so much and I trust him so much. There’s never a time when I do a scene with Terrence and I don’t end up afterwards feeling very empty emotionally because they’re usually very, very intense scenes. Even when we’re walking by and we’re just saying hello to each other, it’s always so intense because the vibe is exactly the opposite of the relationship that I have in real life with Terrence. I think that that works on both ends of the spectrum, where it’s a thing of it’s difficult to do those scenes because I love and I trust him so much, but it’s also easier because I love and I trust him so much.
Did you ever work with Terrence or know Terrence before you got the show together?
No. The only thing that we’ve ever done before “Empire” is we used to be managed by same person so I would see him in passing all the time. And then one time when I was like 9 years old, there was this film and they were just doing a table read for it, it hadn’t been sold or anything like that, and I came in and read the role of Terrence as a child.
Did he remember that when you booked the show?
He did. You know what’s so funny? Terrence is so funny because Terrence comes from Planet Terrence– he doesn’t forget anything.
You can read the entire interview at The Wrap.
Happy birthday to Jussie Smollett!! Jussie is 32 years young today.
I hope he has a great birthday today.
This past Thursday Jussie was honored by the Black Aids Institute for his work in combating HIV/AIDS in the black community.
Congrats on your award and may you receive many more in the future.
Check out the I Wanna Love You video. It’s one of my favorite songs from Empire.
On Thursday June 18, 2015 actor/singer/activist Jussie Smollett will be honored by the Black AIDS Institute as one of the 2015 Heroes in the Struggle.
Jussie has been working to combat HIV/AIDS since he was very young and this will be his first award.
A week from today, June 18, I will follow in the footsteps of such greats as #DannyGlover, #BlairUnderwood, Hydeia Broadbent and my baby sister Jurnee Smollett as I’m honored as one of the 2015 Heroes in the Struggle by the Black AIDS Institute. This is my first award ever. The fact that it is for the work I’ve been doing since I was a child to combat HIV/AIDS makes it one of the great honors of my life. Every single member of my family will be there and I hope you, my Earth family, will too. If you’re in Los Angeles at that time, please take a moment and purchase tickets. All proceeds go for this incredible organization that my family has worked with since I was 16 years old. Repost or tell a friend. All are welcome. It’s going to be a special night. Love yall so much and I hope to see you there. The fight isn’t over.
Congratulations to Jussie Smollett and what an honor to receive this award before his birthday which is June 21.
2015 isn’t over with yet but to me 2015 is the year of Jussie Smollett.
This has been quite a year for the actor/singer. I really didn’t know about Jussie until Empire premiered on Fox this year. I’ve been following his sister Jurnee’s career since she starred in Eve’s Bayou.
Yes Taraji is the star of Empire but in my eyes Jussie is the breakout star. You can’t help but fall in love with Jussie by watching him on Empire and hearing him sing. I’ve pretty much downloaded all the songs he sings on Empire including the songs that didn’t make it on the soundtrack and I even have a Jussie Smollett playlist on my ipod. Yeah I’m hooked. He’s supposed to be working on a solo cd and I’m looking forward to it.
Jussie has been in demand with a lot of people. A few months ago he was flying all over the country promoting the Empire cd. He’s also been appearing at different functions including the UNCF in Atlanta and the 10th Annual National Capital ‘A Cinderella Ball. Jussie will be performing on Tv One’s Verses and Flow this summer.
Not only is he an actor/singer but he’s also an activist. He recently participated in the March2Justice in Washington, D.C.
Right now you can see Jussie in Mariah Carey’s new video Infinity. He looks so handsome/nerdy in this video.
Jussie has gone from this:
I’m so happy that 2015 has been a great year for Jussie and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing more from him in the future.
I will end this post with one of my favorite Jussie Smollett songs I Wanna Love You.
Jussie Smollett covers the June 2015 issue of Essence Magazine. Well according to Essence there are four covers on sale. I’m just hoping to get the Jussie cover in my mailbox.
Jussie looks good with the beard. Looking good Jussie Smollett 🙂
Jussie, Trai and Bryshere, aka Yazz all look good but you know I’m partial to Jussie.
Rest assured, Jussie Smollett is not interested in jeopardizing his chances of appearing in the second season of Empire. As a result, he won’t spill on the show’s forthcoming sophomore season, only teasing that it “will make season 1 look like The Brady Bunch.”
In a new interview with Essence magazine, Smollett, 32, opened up about how Empire has changed his life – including making him a potential inspiration for young people considering coming out of the closet. “If I can help someone else feel less alone, no matter what they’re going through, I’m happy to have that opportunity,” he said.
When Smollett spoke openly about his sexuality with Ellen DeGeneres in March, however, it wasn’t a game changer for him, as he’d never considered himself in the closet.
“The sun rose the next day, the clouds were out and I was still able to go to Whole Foods,” he said. “And my mother said, ‘Hey, baby,’ like she always does. Nothing changed.”
The older brother to Friday Night Lights and Parenthood actress Jurnee Smollett, he credits his sister Jazz with helping him land the role by giving him a heads-up that the character of Jamal Lyons was being cast.
“I jumped on Instagram and direct-messaged Lee [Daniels] and said, ‘Sir, I know you get this all the time, but I’m a singer, actor, dancer, songwriter and musician. I am Jamal Lyon in more ways than one,’ ” Smollett told the magazine.
“We connect on so many levels,” Smollett said of the many creative, professional and familial parallels he sees between himself and his Empire character. “I know we would absolutely be best friends.”
Yes the title of this post is correct 😉
It was announced this morning that one of my favorite shows, Empire will have a fall season start and will have 18 episodes instead of the 12 we saw during season one. Thank goodness us Empire fans don’t have to wait until January 2016. Looks like they will be splitting the 18 episode season like some other shows I watch.
Fox is expanding its breakout mega-hit Empire. Fox chairman and CEO Gary Newman confirmed he’s boosting Empire’s episode count in the second season to 18 episodes, versus the 12 episodes that aired during its debut season this year.
Also, with Empire launching in the fall instead of midseason, the network plans to split its 18-episode second run into two halves.
The Terrence Howard-starring hip-hop drama made a record-breaking splash in its debut on Wednesday nights, defying gravity by continuing to grow with each subsequent episode. Its season finale snagged 16.7 million viewers and a 6.5 in the 18-49 demographic. Going into the upfronts, one big question was whether Fox would move Empire to Thursday nights, which is the most lucractive weekday for advertising. But doing so would also mean that Empire would likely face ABC’s own powerhouse, Scandal, at 9 p.m.
Move to Thursday night? Are they crazy? That’s Shondaland night. Fox already pissed me off by moving Sleepy Hollow to Thursday night. But hey that’s what a dvr is for.
I still have a long wait until season 2 starts but at least the Empire cast gets to rest until filming begins. Can’t wait to see the cast including Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Trai Byers, Bryshere Y. Gray and of course Jussie Smollett.
Speaking of Jussie Smollett I wonder if he ever auditioned for American Idol.
Oops, did I just post a picture of Jussie? Oh well 😉
Empire star Jussie Smollett graces the Spring 2015 Men’s Issue of Urban Lux Magazine.
Very good article. He talks about his family, spending time developing his skills as a musician and being a community activist. You can check out the article here at Urban Lux Magazine.
Speaking of the activist Jussie Smollett today he participated in the #March2Justice, which was orgainzed by Justice League NYC, in Washington, D.C.
The nine day march to protest police brutality began in Staten Island, New York and the U.S. Capital in D.C. was the final destination. They mentioned the march on NBC4 news this evening with Shomari Moore reporting and I did see Jussie marching with the group. They marched from Howard University this morning. Proud of you Jussie Smollett and to all the people who participated.
Here’s another favorite of mine from the Empire soundtrack. Conqueror features Jussie Smollett and Estelle.
Isn’t he a handsome young man? So what if he’s younger than I am. And yes I read that he plays for the other team. That doesn’t take away from his handome looks. Jussie is very talented too. I love his music. I downloaded The Empire soundtrack and I love it. Especially Jussie’s music. My favorite song is I Wanna Love You.
Jussie had an EP released back in 2012 called Poisoned Hearts Club. I had a chance to listen to it on Reverb Nation and it sounds very good.
I read that it was available on iTunes but they don’t have it anymore. I want to download it but unfortunately it’s not available anywhere to download. Check out this video where Jussie talks about the Poisoned Hearts Club EP.
And check out this video U Don’t Love Me by Gina Star featuring Jussie.
Jussie is the older brother of actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell who starred in one of my favorite movies Eve’s Bayou.
I read that Jussie has signed with Columbia Records. I’m looking forward to hearing more great music from this young man. Good luck in your career Jussie Smollett!!! You deserve it.