It's hard to imagine anyone else in the role of Cookie Lyon on Empire besides the amazing Taraji P. Henson, but she actually did have some tough competition at the original auditons. Well, sort of.
In a skit for The Late Late Show with James Corden, the host sports a full-on Cookie outfit including a dress, fur coat, and long black wig (and some facial hair) to audition for the lead role on Empire. He tries to intimidate Henson by saying mean lines from the script. When he began yelling Lucious Lyon's name, Henson asked him if he could be a little quieter. "What, you a bit scared of a little competition?" he said. "You, competition?" she replied.
"Come in here half-ass with your dollar store jeans, discount hoops, fake-ass shoes, cheap Chanel belt," he said.
"That's not in the script," she said, getting angry.
"No, it's not in the script. It's real life b*tch and we is living it," he said.
Oh, but you do not mess with Henson. "Where is your Oscar nomination? What do you say about that? Do you think anyone saw you in Into the Woods? All everyone saw was Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and the trees. Were you a tree? Was that you? Was that you, a weeping willow tree? The big, big one over the hairy big mossy tree you fake dumb Winnie the Pooh man." At this point Corden is in full tears. "Let me tell you, the streets weren't made for everyone," Henson warned. "That's why they made sidewalks so moss like you can grow. Stay in your lane."
A devastated Corden is then joined by Bryshere Y. Gray who plays Hakeem on Empire. When he asks who Corden is reading for, the host swiftly pulls off his Cookie wig and said "Hakeem. You got a problem with that?" Watch more of Corden and Henson face off as dueling Cookies in the image above.