Photo Credit: Jussie Smollett/Twitter
Following the Jussie Smollett case has felt like the OJ Simpson trial and we haven’t seen a second of footage from inside a court room. The showrunner for the series Empire he’s on, Brett Mahoney, spoke to Entertainment Weekly describing the last nearly two months since Smollett’s attack as an “emotional rollercoaster.” Already he’s been removed from the final two episodes of the season to prevent further disruption. And that was described as a “very difficult decision.”
“I think in terms of allowing the cast and the crew to really get the work done without a great deal of disruption in terms of the day-to-day and the stress of the day-to-day, and, in addition, allowing Jussie the time to really deal with what he’s been confronted with and allow him the time to focus and prepare his case, this seems like the logical decision to make,” Mahoney told Entertainment Weekly.
As it relates to having to rewrite the show around Smollett’s character being out those two episodes, the opportunity for new storylines were made available. “It definitely was an unexpected wrench to have to take the character Jamal out of those final two episodes, just because he is an important part of the show,” he said. “But, luckily, we have such a strong ensemble and so many stories to tell. So often when you get towards the end of the season, I have so much story to tell that sometimes having to take something out means having room for something else that I’m just as passionate about, so we were able to make that work.”
And as anyone would imagine, it’ an emotional thing for the cast to deal with constant headlines about their workplace everyday. “You have someone in your family who’s going through this, while at the same time, we’re shooting the final episodes of the season, which are also just heightened emotionally,” he said. “So it was a lot to deal with and a lot to go through, but we’re really just focused on finishing strong.”
As for his future on the show, Mahoney says, “It’s too early to think about what we would have to do if we didn’t have Jussie,” he said. “We have such a strong ensemble and we have so many stories to tell for all of these fascinating characters that it’s bigger than one character, but it’s too early to think about the show without him.”
Smollett has court tomorrow and what we stated about how the public hasn’t so much as seen the inside of a courtroom regarding his trial is soon going to change. He asked for permission to have his trial filmed and that’s what he’s getting. Smollett says he wanted the public to see his evidence and that’s what we’re going to get to see tomorrow.