Lee Daniels' Upcoming 'Empire' TV Series for Fox Inspires Rally

L to R - Robert X. Golphin, Sharon Pinkenson, Lee Daniels
L to R - Robert X. Golphin, Sharon Pinkenson, Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels' work as film producer and director on The Butler, Monster’s Ball and Precious made him a household name. To Philadelphians though, he’s a native of this city and a local guy who made good. Daniels is continuing his successful run in 2014 as his dramatic, hip hop business television series Empire, starring fellow local Terrence Howard, just got picked up by the Fox network and is currently filming in Chicago, despite its Philly back-story. With that, the Greater Philadelphia Film Office (GPFO) – spearheaded by Sharon Pinkenson – held a rally on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 13 to ask Daniels to film Empire in his hometown.

Rally to bring Lee Daniels' 'Empire' filming to Philadelphia
Rally for Lee Daniels' 'Empire' series
The rally, planned by Pinkenson’s GPFO, was timed in accordance with Daniels receiving the Arts & Business Council’s Anne d'Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence, named for the Philadelphia Art Museum’s late head and its most legendary curator. Pinkenson, her crew, and a slew of local actors and technicians held the rally in order to get Daniels attention, and maybe convince him to convince Fox to bring what’s being described as a "hip hop Dynasty" to Philly.

For the record, Pinkenson already has Daniels' ear, as the two maintain constant contact and Daniels has already made two films here (Shadowboxer and The Woodsman). "Lee is a beloved Philadelphia filmmaker and the entire Philadelphia film community congratulates him for his amazing accomplishments along with the Arts & Business Council attendees as he is presented with the prestigious Ann d’Harnoncourt Award," said Pinkenson before the rally. "The fact that Fox has ordered a full season of his recent TV pilot, Empire, set in Philadelphia and New York City, is a huge milestone in his career, and tonight, we are asking everyone to meet at the top of the Rocky Steps to show our love, and to tell Lee how much we want him to bring Empire to shoot in his hometown."

Along with Terrence Howard as a Jay Z-like drug dealer-turned-rap mogul, Empire also stars actress Gabourey Sidibe (who previously worked with Daniels as the titular star of Precious) and Taraji P. Henson. Empire is scheduled to premiere on Fox in the Fall of 2014.

Lead photo courtesy of Robert X. Golphin
Rally photo courtesy of Greater Philadelphia Film Office

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014