Taraji P. Henson began her acting career in the late 1990’s picking up minor roles on television series from ER to Sister, Sister, typically for just an episode or two. She made her debut on the silver screen in the 1998 film Streetwise; the low-budget film only premiered in 1 theater across the entire country however, running for few months before going to VHS. Maybe the motivation of starring in her first movie was all she needed however, because she persisted regardless, and her persistence certainly paid off. She now has 69 acting credits to her name, starring in successful feature films such as Four Brothers and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, though it would appear her return to television has brought her the most success. Since 2015, Henson has played the role of Cookie Lyon in Fox’s hit series Empire, which is where she also made her directorial debut in television earlier this year when she directed an episode of the series’ sixth and potentially final season. An impressive feat no doubt, but she already has plans to follow it up, this time in film.
Earlier this week it was announced that Taraji P. Henson would be making her feature film directorial debut, directing the upcoming film Two-Faced alongside production company Bron Studios. She is clearly building upon the momentum her recent work has generated for her career, with the announcement coming just 9 months after the Henson directed episode of Empire aired on television. No matter, she expressed nothing but excitement and optimism for the upcoming venture: “After two decades spent in front of the camera, I’m thrilled to finally jump behind it for my feature directorial debut! What first attracted me to this project was Joy – she is the character I needed to see in films growing up, but never had.” Joy would be the main character of the high-school comedy, an African-American high school senior who has the opportunity to attend her dream school are endangered when she presents evidence of her principal’s racist past, upon which he wages war against her and her friends. Henson will also get to spend plenty of time alongside the character as she is also set to star in the film, playing the role of Joy’s mother Gina Robinson.
Henson certainly picked a good company to work alongside for her first time directing in film, with one of Bron Studios’ most recent production credits being 2019’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, a film that has received incredible reviews and has over one billion dollars in box offices since its release last year. She will also be working alongside producer Tim Story with whom she previously worked with on the Think Like A Man films. Unsurprisingly, Story expressed the same emotions as Henson in regards to her directorial debut: “I could not be more excited to support one of the most talented people I have ever known. Taraji and I have done three movies together and I knew it was only a matter of time before she would make this leap to directing…” Though it may be her first shot, it is a strong shot as Henson has plenty of experience in film and a formidable team around her, and after 23 years in television and film she has certainly earned the opportunity to say the least.