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Tyler Perryís Meet the Browns in our magazines

SUBJECT: Tyler Perryís Meet the Browns

The poster On February 24, 2005, Lionsgate released Tyler Perryís feature film dťbut, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which grabbed the Number One spot at the box office making $21.9 million in tickets its first weekend, stunning industry pundits. But Perry had a built-in audience Ė since 1998, the playwright/director/actor/producer has been a superstar on Americaís urban theatre circuit; his seven plays grossing over $75 million. Now a phenomenon on the big screen as well, his new movie Tyler Perryís Meet the Browns translates one of his most popular stage plays, about a single mother, Brenda (portrayed by Angela Bassett) raising children on a meager salary. Itís a subject that is dear to the film makerís heart.

Q: Can you talk a little about this movie?:
Tyler Perry as Brian in Diary of a Mad Black WomanA: With this film, I wanted to show how something very positive can come of a negative situation. Brenda is attending the funeral of the father she never knew, a man who abandoned her and whom she has every right to be angry with. But in going to pay her respects, Brenda is introduced to an incredible family she never knew she had. Granted, the Browns are kind of crazy, but theyíre all about love.

Q: What is the black family dynamic in relation to your own life?
A: What I try to do with my work is I always try to bring the generations together, because Iíve been so blessed to have so many different generations watching and paying attention to the films, so I always try to bring that kind of wisdom which works really well, especially for this film.

Q: What is the key to being a good director?
A: I hire people who are capable of bringing it on their own. The key to being a good director, and I think Iím decent, I donít think Iím great but the key to being a decent one is to hire actors who know what theyíre doing and they always make you look good.

Q:: Youíve obviously found the formula for success. If you decide to go outside the genre that youíre in right now, do you think youíll get a lot of resistance from the studio and the naysayers?:
Diary of a</b> <b>Mad Black Woman artworkA: Well the naysayers are going to be the naysayers and Iím going to let them keep naying and saying, but as far as the studio, I have a ton of support from working with Lionsgate. Itís been a great marriage between us. I work with them on a project by project basis. I donít work in fear. I donít worry about whatís the next movie. Whatever comes to me is the area I move in. If you look at Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madeaís Family Reunion and this movie, itís more of a Madea kind of brand thatís a broad comedy with drama. But if you look at Daddyís Little Girls and Why Did I Get Married and the movie Iím working on right now, The Family That Preys with Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard, itís a different kind of brand. There are two different brands of work and both of them are going in different directions.
So Iíll spread out and do some other things. Iíve got, of course, Jazz Man [(aka 'A Jazz Manís Blues'] with me playing a jazz singer in 1947 and a Holocaust survivor. I just was inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama to write a new script that is phenomenal that either Iím going to do with someone or I was thinking Angela could do with Denzel [Washington] so weíll see what happens.

Q: Can you elaborate a little bit more on the Obama project?
A: Iím writing it right now. Itís just an amazing story. I met with him and Michelle and had dinner with them. They just inspired this amazing story. Itís a love story with a little political twist called For the Love of You and itís about his love for his woman. Itís going to be amazing.

Q: Your character Madea turns up in Meet the Browns, but only has one scene.
A: Madea showing up for that one scene is just a set up for Madea Goes to Jail. I wanted to set it up in this movie because Iíve already written it and we start shooting it in about two months. I just wanted to tease the audience just to let them know that it was coming. Itís a little marketing thing I was doing.

Tyler Perry as Madea

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Tyler Perryís Meet the Browns site
Images above © Lionsgate
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #695, May 2008 cover

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