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    "The Inspection" Star Jeremy Pope Reflected On Auditioning And Getting Rejected For "Empire"

    "I was thinking, I'm about to sing, I'll be the middle son..., and I didn't get it."

    We all know Jussie Smollett played the role of Jamal Lyon in Empire.

    Well, Tony and Emmy nominee Jeremy Pope recently revealed that he also tested for the part.

    Close-up of Jeremy

    "Jamal Lyons. Yeah, I tested with Lee Daniels. I really thought I was about to get that job," he told BuzzFeed in an exclusive interview.

    Jeremy in front of a large Oscar statue

    "I was thinking, I'm about to sing, I'll be the middle son..., and I didn't get it. That was a hard one. That was a hard no to hear, and Lee knows it was a hard no," he said.

    Jeremy sitting and holding a microphone

    Fortunately, everything worked out just fine for the 30-year-old actor, who went on to star in critically acclaimed projects like Pose, Hollywood, and Ain't Too Proud on Broadway.

    Jeremy in a sleeveless glittery top on the red carpet

    While reflecting on his past and current projects, Jeremy stated, "I hope that through my work, and through being in projects like Hollywood, Pose, and now The Inspection, this can be tangible for others out there."

    Gabrielle Union with her hands cupping Jeremy's smiling face

    He added, "I think about what it would have meant if I had a show like Hollywood or Pose when I was younger to watch and see, Oh, I can be an openly queer actor. There are roles for me that are not just about playing the gay best friend or the gay character that doesn't get to explore their troubles and their conflict."

    People sitting around a dining table and raising glasses in a toast

    Jeremy concluded, "I just really love it when I can be a part of stories that make proper space for me, and for us."

    Close-up of Jeremy smiling

    Be sure to catch Jeremy in The Inspection, which is already getting rave reviews and Oscar buzz, in theaters now and On Demand starting Dec. 22. You can read our full interview with Jeremy here.