How Courtney Love Got her Role on 'Empire'

Love plays a rock star on the Fox hit series.

ByABC News
February 19, 2015, 1:40 PM
Courtney Love is pictured in a scene from "Empire."
Courtney Love is pictured in a scene from "Empire."

— -- Courtney Love is no stranger to acting, but she was surprised when "Empire" creator Lee Daniels called her about a role in his new hip hop drama.

"I’d heard from multiple people that Lee Daniels wanted to work with me, but I thought, 'Oh, yeah. This is nonsense,'" she told People magazine. "And then I had dinner with a [mutual] friend who really bugged me to call Lee. I thought, 'That’s so rude! He doesn’t even know me.'"

Love said she took a chance and texted him, "Hi Lee, this is Courtney Love. How are you doing? XO."

"About two minutes later I get a call from him, 'I have a part for you.' I was, like, in shock," she told People.

On the new hit Fox show, Love, 50, plays rocker Elle Dallas, but she almost played a different kind of singer.

"It was originally going to be kind of a Whitney Houston kind of character," she revealed. "I was going to be R&B white royalty, but I am no R&B singer. Lee had wanted me to do a Patti LaBelle song and I sang it for about five people at Fox. I think they are still cringing about it. I don't have that Christina Aguilera or Mariah Carey voice. That's not the kind of singer I am. So, we changed it to be more appropriate for my voice, which is rock."

Love's latest role follows her recurring role on "Sons of Anarchy" last year and the underground stage production "Kansas City Choir Boy" in New York that ran through January.

"I was acting for a few years and doing quite well at it and then I got tired of it," said Love, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role in 1996's "The People vs. Larry Flynt."

"I went to something that I thought was more autonomous. I went back to playing rock 'n' roll, which is much looser. The expectation of behavior is different," she told People. "With acting, you must be on time. You must be off-book. I love that kind of structure. It really appeals to me now that I'm the age that I am. It's something that I want to stay with."