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Taraji P. Henson Dishes On Her "Person Of Interest" Character + The Role She's Salivating To Play

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 1, 2011 at 5:58AM

We've seen a couple of video previews of the upcoming new CBS action/drama series, Person Of Interest, neither of which included any footage of Taraji P. Henson's character - an omission I noted in my previous posts on the series, given that she's the lead female player in it, starring as a police detective. So really, other than what I just said about her being a cop, we haven't heard much else about the character she plays, and thus, don't know what to expect.
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We've seen a couple of video previews of the upcoming new CBS action/drama series, Person Of Interest, neither of which included any footage of Taraji P. Henson's character - an omission I noted in my previous posts on the series, given that she's the lead female player in it, starring as a police detective. So really, other than what I just said about her being a cop, we haven't heard much else about the character she plays, and thus, don't know what to expect.

The new series was created by wunderkind producer/director J.J. Abrams, maybe one of the busiest men in Hollywood right now, with the myriad of projects he has in hands in, both in film and television. Christopher Nolan’s younger brother, Jonah Nolan, already famous in his own right for co-writing both The Dark Knight and The Prestige, co-developed the project, writing the pilot episode's script as well.

The crime-drama focuses on James Caviezel's character, an ex-CIA agent presumed dead who's aid is enlisted by Michael Emerson's mysterious billionaire, to fight crimes in New York City.

While doing press for Larry Crowne (which opens in theaters today), Taraji revealed details about her involvement in Person Of Interest, in an interview with Collider, as well as a role she says she's salivating to play - all embedded below.

First, on her role as Detective Carter in Person Of Interest:

"I really wasn’t looking to do television. I prefer doing feature films. But, I heard about it and I got the script, which was so top secret that it was intriguing. Jonah Nolan called me and said that he wanted to work with me. He explained that my character wasn’t really written up in the pilot, but he promised me that there was going to be more for my character to do. He seemed so passionate about the project that I read it and I really, really liked the script. I got it, right away. Then, I finally saw the pilot and thought it was amazing. I forgot I was in it. I was watching it and was like, “Oh, that’s right, I am in it.” It’s really, really good."

Ok, so, she's in the pilot episode. We know that now; though I suppose one reason why she's absent from the preview trailers is what she said about her character not being "really written up in the pilot."

... There are lots of stunts... Like every superhero film, there’s always an inspector, a detective or a police officer trying to figure out who the masked man is. Although Jim Caviezel’s character doesn’t wear a costume or a mask, when I first meet him, he’s homeless, so he doesn’t look like how he’s going to look throughout the series. So, when I first meet him, I have this women’s intuition that something is up with the guy, but can’t put my finger on it. I go and try to run his prints, and when I come back, he’s gone. He’s vanished. So, I guess I’m going to spend the series looking for him, trying to figure out who he is and what he’s doing in my town.

So, while he's trying to fight crimes, she'll maybe be an obstacle he'll have to account for as she, the relentless detective, determined to uncover his secret, from one episode to the next, getting closer and closer with each. And then, maybe they eventually pair up on some crimes, as their relationship develops into one akin to that of Batman and Police Commissioner Gordon?

As for what attracted her to the character and series:

It’s not that I was excited about playing a cop, but it was the company that I’m in and the writer. I know he’s going to give me good stuff. I told him that I’m not interested in playing a generic cop, or being a pretty girl with a gun. I said, “You hired me for a reason, so use me.” And, he was like, “Oh, yeah!” I was very specific about that.

That's certainly good to know! She'll actually be involved and not just background fodder.

And lastly, on a role she's dreaming to play:

I would love to do a biopic of a famous singer, like Diana Ross or Donna Summer, or an old jazz story that we haven’t seen before. I would love to do that! I would love to play Diana Ross ‘cause she’s an icon. I’m salivating to do that.

Taraji as Diana Ross... hmmm... trying to picture it.

Given the way news travels across the web, as words get mis- and/or reinterpreted, don't be surprised if this goes from "Taraji P. Henson Dreams Of Playing Diana Ross On Screen," to "Taraji P. Henson To Star In Diana Ross Biopic."

CBS picked up Person Of Interest to debut this fall, Thursdays nights at 9 p.m.

Read the full interview with Collider HERE.

This article is related to: Television


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