One-On-One With Morocco Omari
He’s just joined ‘Empire’ as a series regular so we get up close and personal with the incredibly talented actor.
By: El Broide
Morocco Omari is one talented guy. He just announced that will continue his journey on the hit TV show ‘Empire’ as a series regular on the show’s third season and has starred in countless films and TV shows. The star was recently in South Africa and opened up to us about the show’s highly-anticipated new season, working with Taraji P. Henson and he has a special message for all his South African fans.
Congrats on being promoted to a series regular in ‘Empire’. What can we expect from Tariq in season three?
You can expect Tariq to go after the family and associates with a vengeance. He’s uncovering every stone, twisting arms, and leaning on people. No one is safe.
What has been the biggest highlight for you working on this incredible show?
The biggest highlight of working on this show has been the diversity. The crew is made up all different hues, and we have a lot of female writers and directors and it’s a great collaboration. The cast is top notch, when you come to work you know to bring your A game. You have actors challenging and raising your craft.
You’ve shot a few scenes with Taraji P. Henson. What have you learned the most working with her?
Taraji is an assassin. You better be ready because she’s a master of the craft. She’s going to come at you from different angles – angles you probably haven’t even thought about so it’s best to be ready to play. The scenes always pop when Taraji and Terence are on set. They’re going to raise your game so it’s best to get a good night’s sleep and be ready.
Why do you think a show like Empire is so popular?
Empire is popular because there was a void. You rarely see a drama on national TV with people of colour. So, there was sort of a TV desert for people of colour and African Americans specifically. The two stars come with their own fan base. Terence and Taraji have been putting in solid work for years so they’ve built a following. Then there’s the musical element of the show. Hip-Hop is huge so people will tune in to see the acts. The writers keep stirring the pot. Empire is part King Lear, part Godfather, part Dynasty. The plots are meaty. Lee Daniels, Danny Strong, Ilene Chaiken, and Sanaa Hamri and the rest of the cast and crew keep things fresh and new.
How did you get into acting?
I tripped into acting. I had recently returned home from Desert Storm, enrolled in school in Chicago where I was majoring in business and I bored out of my mind. I was modelling a little bit but the money wasn’t enough (or I wasn’t pretty enough). I started booking commercials and then I was an extra in a virtual reality game. I was a masseuse. I had no lines. I paid close attention to the actors though. I asked them how much they were getting paid and it was waaaaaay more than I was making. So I went to my agent and said ‘I want to be an actor!’ She laughed and said ‘oh, Morocco, take some classes and do some theatre and I’ll send you out on auditions.’ I took three classes and booked my first play and during that first time on stage in front of if an audience, I was smitten.
You also worked on shows such as Homeland, Chicago Fire and NCIS. Which project has been the most challenging for you?
Empire – because I have a story line. All the other shows I’ve done prior to Empire, theatre included, prepared me for my current job. I didn’t have a storyline on the other shows, I came in did my job and that was it. Empire requires me to do the homework. I have to be part palaeontologist, psychiatrist, and private investigator. I have to break down the script and be specific with the character building. I also have a more collaborative union with the cast and crew. The other shows, although I’m thankful for the opportunity, I couldn’t really stretch the artistic muscle.
Do you have a message for your fans here in South Africa?
My message to the fans is Ngyibonga! We appreciate all your support. We love you and thanks for tuning in. I hope to keep visiting your great country. It’s starting to feel like home. Thank you for making me feel welcome. One love.