Jennifer Hudson has a plum role on Empire as its highly-successful first season comes to a close. She is the religious music therapist helping Andre through the aftermath of his bipolar breakdown. Hudson spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in advance of Wednesday night’s season finale, and revealed she is pleased that Empire is able to bring such an interesting and relevant character to television.
“Michelle is a modern professional and religious girl. She’s young, but she’s educated and successful, and she’s in her career, and I love to see that representation for our youth on television — having a steady foundation and then also being a spiritual girl but being very aware of herself [too]. She’s an attractive girl, and she’s different, but she’s still spiritual, and I think that whole combination makes her very unique.”
Although she is a fan of Michelle’s, Hudson said she is not always a fan of her decisions. Asked how she feels about Lucious’ involvement as Andre and Michelle’s bond develops, Hudson gives an opinion without divulging any Empire spoilers.
“This is the first time ever in my career that I’m on the fence with [a decision] my character [makes]. I’m not sure if Jennifer agrees with Michelle’s [actions], if I can say that!”
The actor who portrays Andre, Trai Byers, described Michelle and Andre’s relationship by using spiritual imagery in his own interview with The Hollywood Reporter two weeks ago. Byers connects it to Hudson herself and her approach to playing Michelle.
“[Jennifer Hudson] brings a purity with her as an actress into the role of Michelle that connects with the purity of Andre. Her light shines onto his light, and her light combines with his light, and it showcases to Andre that he can potentially be in a way that steps away from the needs of Empire Entertainment. It’s a beautiful thing [because] it seems that Andre could have gone any way but went the way of the family, which kind of buried him, and there’s so much more potential there. What can he do? He doesn’t have to be a part of that world. I think that’s encouraging, and she will encourage.”
Jennifer Hudson is set to appear on Broadway late this year in a musical adaptation of The Color Purple. The American Idol alum will play Shug Avery. The production will also star Cynthia Erivo as Celie.
The two-hour season finale of Empire airs Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on Fox.
[Jennifer Hudson image courtesy of Getty]