Jussie Smollett: The Master Prankster?

The "Empire" star appears on Popcorn with Peter Travers and talks about the all new season of his hit show and the long road that led him to his place in the spotlight.
15:36 | 04/08/16

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Transcript for Jussie Smollett: The Master Prankster?
Yes I knew Noory drinking Saldana. Who along. No. Strong. He should be mandatory CEO. Issued road got out what's extra. Slow message instant the thought of all he's done he to a moment. He deserves worse. Should be so good but I hate running him. It takes listening to music. That term means when I am in no. So everything on one. And actually ask you. About the product and modes of the united destroyed. Their own girls you go through what is that a problem. This is excellent this with a book. She special. Me. And as we can have known this not. I. Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers and welcome to popcorn where we tell you with pop and in the pop culture pop in and ask them out. And if you don't know about the fox empire and you've been living under rocks some. But my guest today Jeff he smile is. Not only the middle side of loose and cookies. But his character is somebody that's had an impact since season one because while winds change and doing things. And wild Jamal his character's growing just becoming. Me just. So. Welcome thanks what you are too great here it is new it is little wonder if you haven't gotten to that part where people volume on the street and seems to excuse me. I don't say excuse me I'm always really nice I love everybody but yet we've gotten to that point yes sure. People follow us in and you know come medicine magazine. Opera paparazzi. And cameras and so it's it's kinda crazy I was sitting in. In a restaurant yesterday and I was just in and eating lunch meeting and then look there and there's a paparazzi out taken pictures. That's so we entered. It's it's not normal over the beginning it's like me yet and it's like what are looking around and you like it. Where as one direction. Is the fifth. But whereas Michael B Jordan the notice they edited in the and you realize that they're for unum lag brow there's got to be something better do the following me around. You know let. Talk to the poor benighted souls who maybe haven't seen him part yet. But are picking it up now as we go to part two isn't yet a season there. So who is this Jamal other than when I said. Jamal is a loving and caring. Stressed. We're. Artists and he's he's an artist and every sense of the word he's emotional and sensitive. And a little crazy. But to law has heart and hit in the sense of loyalties so wonderful but he will with exit he also has a real tough situation with his dad. You know that the approval of your father can really be almost like an addictive drug. You know and and that's wit would Jamal is going through with solutions because he just wants the approval but as he gets older. It becomes this this you know this battle between two very strong willed men and because he's gay. You know Lucius is not very play about a Greek terrorists Howard was is not very. Supportive he's not thrilled no he's not he's not happy he's not going on any. Marks is with this at ethnic favor that. He and eating food and when you first got this. What do you think what did you think it's going to be. I thought that I knew that it would be critically acclaimed because its lead game and it's Danny Strong and both of them separately. Are so broad you notice thanks to put them together the quit they do with the Butler you know. And now empire so I knew that it would be critically acclaimed I know that I knew that but I didn't know. Critically acclaimed pieces don't always necessarily resonate with the public the real and present yeah exactly are you just made my job as a critic its youth. Well. Okay now no I don't matter we might mean that you read you didn't hear at a hearing aid in its Adelaide Kamal that outlawed. I mean listen it. It's it's it's wonderful to get the critical acclaim but it ended the day you want. The public you want it to be belong to the -- wife created so the fact that it's become this crazy like phenomenon. Is in such a short time is. It's wonderful. This is a big deal to have a gay black man on TV representing them we don't see it and Jamal lives in the world of hip. And R&B where it's not it's a great thing. Lee Daniels is basically writing about himself in your care here. So this is the guy when he was a kid as your characters depicted on the show is father hated the fact that he was gay and where and his mother's heels. And put her in a trash yes. It's people go through. So you're representing fully. That he represented for Jamal then you're representing for everybody. Out there that's going through you know it's a lot that I'm field. But isn't. I guess so but for me it's not. It's not like pressures it's but it is a responsibility. But I felt that responsibility. Before I was on empire yes and I feel that responsibility as. As a human being you know him saying to somehow represented myself. And and in a good way something in a way that my Brothers and that my my sisters and and my sisters and Brothers of the world can look at and be like. You know whether you whether you like him hire or whether you like me. At least you'll be able to look at me may be and say you know what though but he carries himself in a very respectable way and you know so for that. You know. I feel like Jamal and in turn myself doesn't we don't just represented. One group of people but in state represented. Anybody that has been misunderstood in their lives anybody that has been regardless of race or gender or age or sexuality or religion anybody ms. Allston that we but we but everybody here exactly we all felt. That at least one or million. Life. He noted that while we are misunderstood some money is pre judging me they had these preconceived notions about when they know nothing about me. We've all felt that I feel like that's why Jamal resonates with people. And all had that underdog. I'm Islam in your own life because she come from such an activist friendly and cyst are everybody else knows what this is so when it happened for you when you told them that was not the drama that we're seeing on empire. Oh I know I mean if you know it's yet we we're we're we're very close family and a very very. Functioning. And he exuded in this auction. Alliance. Guy yeah I mean we're we're we're it's it's always been. No one's ever love me in spite of who I am they've always let me because of course. You come from a family that. Your mother's African American your father's Russian and USA Mexico's U it was a Russian post it was a Russian officials that alone should Cree age and you have six. The six there's there's six of us that but if so what was it like house but in a problem I've been reflect its German. Lot of bagels with spicy. New Orleans hot links. Knock on the net all all. What they're at all. It's. There's two Abbott back on the matter my way we had we would have bagels and cream cheese. We. Hot links. Pork hotly this. Is not that is no not his cruiser nowhere as would apps will blew its people do I would eat. Lou always activity this is a little I do it now it was a wonder we know we had an easy upbringing because we where. We certainly we're not you know. We were not rich people bit. We were not. It it was hard it was it was hard growing up and we've worked really really hard but we had. Wonderful. Wonderful. Who got you know the sales. Jockey. The young. As he was. His but he was also the most spoiled. In do anything in life it's. Which blocked the brilliant man with the college out. But with the day in with you but so lucky but only days that were all it is is this Joan Mitchell junior. Jazz Jesse journey Jake jockey and parents Janet. Art you can quiz that at the end. That's the thing. Or all days. To do that and yet with in this because all of the team here together awhile. What was it well it was a Sony for wants residents who represented. Like. And this is on ABC. ABC you canceled a we have to go bankrupt Matt yeah terrorism. And you are mighty dot empty Disney AB might and oak readers who did this you know protect box. Oh. I figured to be added it is not now I'm. Have done that Peter yes you would but I can I exit I'm figuring out now who you war with these kids and I think you were trouble. Think what you were doing all these good things that were filled with love there had to be missed. I have the Ali you make you I was at I was next few years the and yet. I was still with you liked and away at a vampire I think they see them. Yeah I've record of you you yet. Two raji back hands me every single moment as you get beat that constantly mess with. The thing is about playing pranks honesty the know how to. Teach that one I'm teaching about the Saran wrap on two things like that you know teaching and stick with me. I am waiting to see when you know the people the great thing is you'd want to play a prank on somebody that's that's just a stick. Notice and you wanted to you wanna do it to someone whom you know. Their reaction is going to be a and so rising. It's like. When I'm when I'm filming there you know secretly you know CDs slept on it out LC have beaten tunes the now she received leads me yet but builders right there next to students and Nazi but in between the different tour but not everybody in the world. You aren't activists yes apple out there for them and what is lack lives matter. One the primary things that you get involved as well I say it was involved in this. Absolutely absolutely I always say that I am the I'm me Aden a creature. Rights activists. Known it's and the reason I say that is because there's no there's no. Subject and no issue that I feel like I should be hands off. With beak is. I'm a citizen of this world you know so for that I have a right to speak and I have a responsibility to speak. It's it's a mission and we we as a people. As human beings have to come together and really. Understand what we were down on this earth for and I wasn't put on this earth just to get a check for singing and acting in the shipment. I don't I think everybody's journey is different I don't think everybody asked to do that but from me. It feels muscle and it makes me not who. I don't ever want to do guilty about the lessons have been. Given some because I don't hear back. I read somewhere that you and your sister of love these old movies in that you do Mildred pierce dialogue. I have I'm mom literally could sit down with you. And she could it she's like a film historian she's like. All of all of the amazing film historian I don't like eons the AMC Phoenix he could do that because she knows. Every single movie probably from. Like 1928. To. 1990. After national and a act like pretty woman and should of them all and dividends and about it Michael what is this. Miami it's a movie and they couples can ask noise Europe opera. Yeah I mean we eat we know old movies old musicals old movies Joan Crawford Bette Davis you know all agree I can't tell you. That makes me feel good you good thing I when I was growing up wanted to be Cary Grant. He's a sit there like this and a doubling you know I want to be Cary Grant you always kept in a notice where I'll. Happy new carry. I've no idea we'll dish out this is the first time you've ever been. First of many because I have. I know there's things down. This show you can ask anybody that's been on it always ends its long. Does it just a little bit of a song maybe Indian movies. It's that if something from him I don't know but I don't shoes. What's music but in the end. That. Dating. One. What. Our London. It could be so exciting to be out in the world to me I'm on Winston's. It is I don't know that I doubt I know but I have confidence in this odds. Saying. I have confidence that spring we. Besides what you see confidence in me I got a real feeling that that was Carey grant. As a nun that was an airlock Haley could that was carried out as absolutely groups as well and Korea in this news no one is at. Ever gonna do that again. This is it's written thank you. Was.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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