Tyler Perry’s fans have long watched the multihyphenate pull a dress over his 6-foot-5 frame and perform as Madea, the grandmother with her fair share of opinions.
But in the coming months, Perry’s fans will have a chance to see him as a leading man.
First, Perry will star as the romantic lead in his own film, “Good Deeds,” slated for release Feb. 24. Perry wrote the film and intended to cast someone else to star.
“I was trying to find someone else to play the role, but all of the actors I wanted were doing other movies, so I decided I had to do it myself,” he says. ” ‘Good Deeds’ is a total departure for me: It’s about a guy trying to find his way through life. It’s the closest to me that people have ever seen.”
Perry spent August and September in Cleveland and Detroit, shooting “I, Alex Cross,” adapted from the bestselling novels by James Patterson. Perry will be playing the title role, which Morgan Freeman originally made famous in the films “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider.” No release date has been set yet.
Most actors talk about their long days spent on set, but starring in a film was nothing to Perry.
“It was like a vacation, actually,” he says. “I had so much down time on set that I ended up writing two movies.”
Those movies are in the early stages, but Perry says another Madea movie will be coming out next year, although he’s not sure when and he hasn’t titled it yet.
On television, Perry has two series, “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns,” on TBS and in broadcast syndication.
A third one — “For Better or Worse,” based on the hit movie “Why Did I Get Married?” — is on the way with its 10-episode test to air on TBS this month.
Perry also has long said he would like to start his own network, much like his friend and mentor, Oprah Winfrey, has done with OWN. Lionsgate, which serves as Perry’s distribution partner, backs the idea.
In August, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer mentioned in an earnings call that such a network, possibly to be called Tyler TV, was in the early works. Perry confirms that but also says an actual launch is a ways off yet.
“I’m moving very carefully towards a network,” says Perry. “I’m doing that deliberately because I want to make sure it’s the right fit. There are millions of people who have supported me over the years who are longing for it.”
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