Now that Tyler Perry is working with Oprah, is someone else going to take over as Madea?
—Meghann Brown, Lincoln, Neb.
That would be a resounding No! As long as audiences come to see the Madea movies, Perry, 43, plans to make them with him in the title role. “That old broad is going to die a quick death when I’m done with her. She’s going to be buried with that dress, so I don’t think [someone else playing the role] will ever happen.”
As a 6-foot-6, 225-pound man, Perry says the costume for the sassy grandmother is difficult to wear. It’s tight, it’s hot and the wig is a pain, so from that standpoint, he wouldn’t mind putting her to rest. But he understands the joy Madea brings to audiences, so until further notice, she will go on—and he will do his best to portray her.
He says, “Whatever the character is put in front of me, I try to bring truth to it, whichever way it lands. I try to bring as much truth to it and make it as believable as I can. I think that’s the job of an actor.”
And to clarify the Oprah Winfrey deal, Perry’s exclusive partnership with OWN is for new TV series only, including two scripted series which will premiere in mid-2013, and which the New Orleans, La.-born entertainment mogul will executive produce, write and direct. It has nothing to do with movies, so he is free to make whatever films he wants.
“I thought [the OWN deal] was a great opportunity for us to partner up and, not just do programming, but actually become partners in the network, so that I could take the moment to learn, as I’m going into my own network,” says Perry, who is starting with a drama, which is something he hasn’t done before. “It’s a win-win because I get an opportunity to give Oprah what she needs, which is programming, and at the same time, I get to learn what it’s like to run a network.”