Alfre Woodard Empire

Empire: Alfre Woodard Joins Cast as Cookie's Mother — FIRST PHOTO

An ax-wielding Demi Moore is going to be the least of Cookie Lyon’s problems when Empire returns this spring. TVLine has learned exclusively that Alfre Woodard has been tapped to play Renee, the estranged (and extremely formidable, natch) mother of Taraji P. Henson’s leading lady.

Woodard — a four-time Emmy winner — will appear on a recurring basis during the second half of Empire‘s current fourth season, which resumes on Wednesday, March 28 at 8/7c. The actress began shooting her arc earlier this month (as evidenced by the exclusive on-set image of Woodard and Henson above.)

The gig marks a reunion for the two Oscar-nominated powerhouses: They co-starred together in the 2008 pic Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys.

Woodard’s recent TV credits include series-regular stints on Netflix’s Luke Cage (which is returning for Season 2) and NBC’s ill-fated State of Affairs.