Page Six got word from unnamed sources that Trai Byers—the actor who plays Andre Lyon on Empire—wants off the show.
Apparently Byers feels that the role and the show are beneath him, since he’s a Yale-trained actor. The sources say that Byers has been exhibiting "diva behavior" on the set and, so, the show’s producers don’t mind if he leaves.
“Trai wants out,” one source allegedly told Page Six. “He feels that he studied at Yale and he’s a ‘true thespian.’ The character is beneath him. He has an idea of himself as being this big Shakespearean actor.”
Byers is reportedly also taking issue with how his character is underdeveloped and not as relevant to the main plotlines this season.
“At first, being on Empire was major for him. But he feels his character is not as important this season, and he hates not being the star,” a source said. “He thinks he has the acting chops of Taraji [P. Henson] and Terrence [Howard]. He doesn’t get how the show benefits him, and he feels he has way too much talent when he’s not the star by any means.”
Byers reportedly threw a “temper tantrum” recently during filming because he was not getting to do as much, one source said. “But producers called his bluff and said, ‘Fine, if you’re not happy, we don’t need you.’”
But with the show apparently in the last week of filming for the season, “he’s not quitting; nor is he being fired, for now,” according to an insider.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.