*Tyler Perry believes industry folk are underestimating the flexibility of his fan base when it comes to his roles outside of the Madea mothership.
“The great thing about my audience is that even though there’s an association with me with the character Madea, there’s also the association with ‘Good Deeds’ and ‘Why Did I Get Married?’ They’ve seen me in other roles before and have supported them to that degree,” Perry said during interviews for his new film “Alex Cross,” opening Friday.
Out of Perry’s 14 films, “Alex Cross” is the first in which he is not doubling as the director or writer. As reported earlier, he’s already in negotiations with author James Patterson to play the detective again for the upcoming adaptation of “Double Cross.”
At one point, wrote LA Times writer John Horn, “Alex Cross” was going to star Idris Elba in a story about the detective’s pursuit of a particularly merciless assassin. But movie business economics cost Elba the job:
“Idris is great, but I don’t know if he can open a movie,” Patterson said.
Clearly, the Atlanta-based mogul is looking to expand his fan base by taking on new and unexpected characters. He believes most of his OG crowd will support him as Alex Cross. However, he believes there is one segment of his audience that may not be ready to branch out along with him.
Tyler Perry seen arriving to the Hollywood premiere of new film ‘Alex Cross’ held at the Arclight Cinemas in Los Angeles (Oct. 15, 2012)
*Deadline.com is reporting that a new deal is being worked out for author James Patterson’s crime novel “Double Cross” to turn into a second movie starring Tyler Perry as the famous Washington DC crimefighter/psychologist.
Perry’s first turn in “Alex Cross” opens this Friday, marking the filmmaker’s first lead role that he didn’t produce or direct or write – and his reviews so far, according to Deadline, have been rather positive, although the critics have been harsh on director Rob Cohen and the film as a whole.
Deadline outlined the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes between Perry’s camp and QED International, the producers of “Alex Cross”:
QED International’s Bill Block put together Alex Cross at a cost of only $25M (lowered to $23M with Louisiana tax subsidies). He chased down the book rights from Patterson for under $1 million, then hired Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson to pen the screenplay with Patterson. Then Block and Patterson sought out Tyler’s WME agent Charles King. After meetings in Atlanta, QED signed the actor for $5M upfront. Perry took over the role from Morgan Freeman who first played Alex Cross in the films Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider. Amazingly, Perry didn’t want to write, direct or produce the movie. He didn’t even want to move the location to his home base in Georgia for all his creature comforts. And he had the leverage, too. Instead Perry wanted QED to run the project so he could focus solely on his acting. Maybe next time Perry should direct, too.
“I have to admit, I’d never even heard of [author James] Patterson’s work and I hadn’t seen any of the movies,” the 78-year-old stage and screen legend said during interviews for the film last weekend.
The title character, made famous by Morgan Freeman in two previous adaptations of Patterson’s book (“Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls”), is taken over by filmmaker Tyler Perry in this latest incarnation, which opens nationwide on Oct. 19. Matthew Fox is the serial killer villain who pushes Cross to the edge of his moral and psychological limits when he kills the detective’s wife.
Tyson plays Cross’ grandmother Nana Mama, so named because she functioned as both his grandmother and mother. Alex went to live with her at age 9, after his father died of alcoholism a year after his mother died of lung cancer.
Below, Tyson describes how director Rob Cohen had to explain to her the popularity of Patterson and his Alex Cross character, that her good friend Morgan Freeman had played him twice before, and the one thing that eventually convinced her to sign on for the project.
Below, Cicely Tyson as Nana Mama tries to stop Alex from leaving to avenge the murder of his wife.
*Tyler Perry is branching out beyond his own productions and has been cast to star as the title role in upcoming movie, “I, Alex Cross,” based on the novel by author James Patterson.
When the announcement was made, critics were skeptical since seasoned actor Morgan Freeman played the Alex Cross character on a big screen production in “Kiss The Girls.” Perry is mostly known for his drag character Madea, so some wonder if he’ll be able to step out of the norm and be taken seriously.
But “Cross” costar and director, Edward Burns, believes in Perry and says a lot of folks are gonna be surprised with his performance. Here’s what he told ComingSoon.net:
“There are things that will shock people, mostly though Tyler Perry’s performance. The guy is so good in this movie and so powerful that I think people are going to be really shocked. He came and delivered. He’s a big dude, a smart guy. He’s a very powerful presence both physically and intellectually, so I think people are going to be very surprised.”
*The film reboot of author James Patterson’s iconic Alex Cross character won’t hit theaters until sometime next year, but the movie has already prompted a nasty legal fight, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Producers of “I, Alex Cross,” in which Tyler Perry stars as the character made famous by Morgan Freeman in “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider” (both adapted from Patterson novels), on Wednesday sued another set of producers who allegedly are not involved in the project but are demanding credit and to be paid.
Bill Block’s QED International, as well as entities JBP Business and SueJack, filed suit against Jan Korbelin, Marina Grasic and their Visitor Pictures claiming that Visitor was initially approached in 2008 to produce the crime drama but negotiations for a deal broke down and the parties went their separate ways. Now that the film is shot and set for release next year by Summit Entertainment, the lawsuit claims Visitor has resurfaced and is claiming “that they reached a binding agreement with plaintiffs relating to their involvement in the film, and that they are entitled to compensation and screen credit set for in the draft [deal].”
The plaintiffs claim Visitor has been threatening litigation. We’ve reached out to the defendants for comment and will update if we get a response.
The suit asks the Los Angeles Superior Court to deny Visitor credit or compensation for “I, Alex Cross” (the complaint says the film title is simply Cross) but seeks no money.
The complaint, filed by Gregory Korn and Gregory Gabriel of Santa Monica’s Kinsella Weitzman firm, seeks a declaratory judgment that Visitor and its principals have no involvement in the film.
*For his next film, “Madea” mastermind Tyler Perry will take on a popular fictional character crafted by author James Patterson and made famous on the big screen by Morgan Freeman in two movies.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Perry will take on the role of detective-psychologist Alex Cross in an untitled film to be directed by Rob Cohen (“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”).
Freeman played the role in two studio movies, 1997′s “Kiss The Girls” and 2001′s “Along Came a Spider,” based on Patterson’s first novel in 1993. His 18th novel featuring Alex Cross will be released later this year.
Idris Elba (“The Wire”) was supposed to portray the detective in an indie due to be directed by David Twohy, but that adaptation appears to be shelved for now, per the Hollywood Reporter.
Perry is best known for his voluminous work as a director-screenwriter-producer of urban dramas and for playing the outspoken black female character of Madea in many of his movies. This would be the first major role Perry has undertaken that doesn’t involve one of his projects.