Sometimes, all good shows must come to an end.
Wednesday night marks Empire‘s 2017 return to television, but according to Taraji P. Henson, the show won’t go on forever.
The FOX hit drama was renewed for a fourth season earlier this year, but the show’s leading lady says her character is emotionally and mentally exhausting – something that can’t continue for an indefinite amount of time.
“I could not do this forever. No. Cookie wears me out!” Henson recently told Variety. “She drains me. She is emotionally all over the place. Those writers, they just keep pushing my emotions with every episode. By the 18th episode [of each season], I’m dead. I got to get far away. I don’t wear animal print. I cut my hair into a bob. I don’t wear a weave because I’ve got to get as far away from Cookie as possible.”
The Emmy-nominated actress went on to tell the publication that she hopes to take a page from Sarah Jessica Parker’s book and bow out on high note when the time is right.
“Once it’s syndicated — and then I’m like, ‘Thank you. Goodnight!’,” says Henson. “I learned this from the women of Sex and the City — you’ve got to know when to go out. You don’t want to overstay your welcome. You want to go out on a high. You want to be remembered as the number one show on network,”
Henson says if she remain on the show for too long, the flame igniting her character will die. “I’m going to loose my passion, I know me. And Cookie is enough. I can’t do that for so long.”
Although the show won’t always go on, Taraji acknowledges the challenges Empire presented and is thankful she was able to tackle Cookie’s character with finesse – so much so that her performance has already snagged her a Golden Globe win for for best actress in a TV series.
“Any role that scares me is a challenge and I don’t back away from challenges,” says Henson. “That’s how I pick roles — if it scares me, I have to do it. Cookie scared me a bit and the challenge was, how do I make the audience connect and feel and empathize for her? Once I did that work, I was like, okay, people are either going to love her or hate her. Thank god it worked. Phew!”
Check out Taraji’s entire interview with Variety here.