Taraji P. Henson doesn’t play wallflowers. That’s not to say she couldn’t, or that she never has. Henson, as the saying goes, has the range. But as a rule, when you see this particular actor’s name attached, you know at least about what to expect. Flawless hair. Loads of power. Terrific entrances. Odds are, the costumes will be great, too.
All that’s been true for each of the five seasons Henson has spent on Empire, playing the driven, dynamic Cookie Lyon, a force of nature unafraid to speak her mind in pretty much any situation. And it’s true of What Men Want, the remake of the Nancy Meyers rom-com What Women Want released in 2000. In the 2019 version, it’s Taraji’s character, not Mel Gibson’s, who suddenly gains the ability to hear the thoughts of the opposite sex. Unsurprisingly, not all her male coworkers are particularly pleased with her outspoken ways. Hijinks ensue.
If I drank a weird tea or got bonked on the head and woke up with the ability to read minds, I would go absolutely nuts—that sounds like hell. But I also, perhaps, would no longer have to actually ask the following question. I could just hold up a hot dog, and people would think, “Oh, that’s a hot dog,” or “Oh, that’s a hot dog sandwich.”
Here’s what Taraji P. Henson thinks.
The Takeout: So, I have a question about hot dogs.
Taraji P. Henson: Oh, I stopped eating hot dogs.
TO: So, no hot dogs at all?
TPH: When I did, I did the works. I had chili, onions, relish, mustard.
TO: Do you consider a hot dog a sandwich?
TPH: It’s a hot dog.
TO: Okay. And a hot dog is not a sandwich?
TO: Why is it not a sandwich?
TPH: It’s not flat meat.
TO: Okay. So a sandwich is layers?
Henson’s latest, What Men Want, opens in theaters on February 7.