Empire is adding Emmy-award winning actress Alfre Woodard in the recurring role of Renee when the series returns to the air next month. Renee is the mother of Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and she is coming back for a turbulent reunion on the Lee Daniels and Danny Strong musical drama that centers on the founding family of Empire Entertainment. Cookie is the ex-wife of Empire's head and musical mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard). She served a 17-year prison sentence and has a company of her own.
Woodard is a critically celebrated actress having received an Academy Award nomination, four Emmy Awards along with seventeen Emmy nominations, three Screen Actors Guild awards and a Golden Globe. She has done a large variety of films including Martin Ritt's Cross Creek, Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon and the cable film Mandela that she received an ACE award for her portrayal of Winnie Mandela. She's also appeared in 12 Years A Slave, Annabelle and Marvel's Captain America: Civil War.
She is one of the few people to appear as two different character in the MCU, having taken on the role of Mariah Dillard in the Netflix series Marvel's Luke Cage. The series has recently filmed it's second series and it is believed that Woodard will return. She is also set to provide the voice of Sarabi in Jon Favreau's The Lion King.
Empire returns to Fox on March 28th.