Terrell Carter on his acting beginnings with Tyler Perry, and playing the devious Warren Hall on ‘Empire’

December 15th 2017

Is there any other show on television that packs glamour, power, prestige and a healthy amount of mess in one knockout punch, than the hit Fox television show, Empire? Nah. In its fourth surprising season, the musical drama has been diving deeper into the lives of the Lyon family, while introducing some incredible supporting characters into the mix.

Leading the pack of new faces is Warren Hall, Jamal Lyon’s new boo, played by the incredibly talented Terrell Carter. Though a fresh face on the show, the Buffalo, New York native has been performing professionally for over a decade, beginning with music. “It started in the church. I started going to church with my grandmother, and I was always intrigued by singers who could really, really sing in church, and even on the radio,” Carter explained. “It started at a very young age. I was just so drawn and attracted to music.”

That strong passion for music led him to sing with the gospel music artist Fred Hammond. During his time with the legend, he met Pam Taylor, a woman who sung background for the iconic Clark Sisters, and recently, at the time, joined the cast of a stage play. “She gave me a call one day and said, ‘They’re looking for a male to play my husband. A male singer, but he has to be a good singer, and I immediately thought of you, ‘cause you could play both the types,’” Carter recalled.

Photo: Eric Hobbs Photo: Eric Hobbs

He took her up on the offer and auditioned for what would be one of the wildly popular stage plays produced by none other than Tyler Perry. In the early days, those stage plays would be filmed and distributed on DVD to millions of black households. As a result, Carter’s popularity skyrocketed and his entry into the acting world was solidified. “When I started doing the Tyler Perry plays, is when it really opened the door for acting. I was always a singer, and I realized when you’re a singer, you’re pretty much an actor, anyway,” Carter said. “So I decided that I wanted to start going into acting, and Tyler gave me my first acting job, of course with the plays, but film-wise he gave me my first acting job in Diary of a Mad Black Woman, the movie.”

Fast forward years after that initial break to today, where Carter’s new boss, filmmaker Lee Daniels, is beautifully utilizing his talents weekly on Empire. Every episode, he sings and acts, all while standing there and looking gorgeous. A true triple threat.

Photo: Jean Whiteside/FOX Photo: Jean Whiteside/FOX

It’s now very difficult to see anyone else wearing the layered shoes of Warren, but initially Carter wasn’t even aware he would fill them. He revealed, “Actually, I auditioned for [Lee Daniels’ other hit show] Star. Lee Daniels was in my audition and he loved my audition. He said I was an amazing actor, but ‘You know what? You’re not right for this role.’ And when somebody says that, it kind of puts you in the position where you’re like, oh my god, I really want this job. It would be really great for me. But he said, ‘You know what? I’ll remember you.’ And he did.”

Carter, as Warren, initially appeared in the very last episode of season three, and the storyline seemed to guarantee him a role in the current season, which it did. But to his surprise, and ours, he didn’t know how detailed and important the character would be to the plot of season four. And what a treat it’s been.

Warren is a character with depth. Throughout the season, he is torn between being loyal to his aunt’s plan to destroy the Lyons, and his unexpected love for Jamal. Warren is someone Carter sees bits of his real self in. The super-talent said, “I loved Warren because he was a lawyer, he’s a singer, and he has a heart. But yet, at the same time, he’s also a little devious. He has all of these things going on. And he’s also this big masculine guy who is sure about who he is and doesn’t mind stepping up against something that may be a problem later on for him. He doesn’t mind going against the grain. And that 100 percent is Terrell Carter.”

And I believe him.

Carter is currently working on a book and new music. Until it’s ready for release, check out his previous work on all major music streaming services.

Empire returns in Spinrg 2018! Catch up by reading our recaps of the entire season here on Shadow And Act!

by Namon Eugene on December 15th 2017

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