When ESSENCE.com caught up with Tyler Perry this week, he was in the middle of promoting his latest movie, Madea’s Witness Protection, wrapping up his next movie The Marriage Counselor (while fending off criticisms of his casting Kim Kardashian), and running his Tyler Perry Productions studio in Atlanta.
Perry admits he’s often exhausted and that his habit of spreading himself so thin nearly drove him to a nasty drinking habit (which he kicked). He spoke with ESSENCE.com about Madea, kicking his drinking habit, his thoughts on Atlanta-based reality shows and his friendship with Whitney Houston.
ESSENCE.com: I noticed a kinder, gentler Madea in Madea’s Witness Protection. TYLER PERRY: Really? [Laughs] I’m getting old. I look at some of the other stuff and the people on the road go, “Where is the gun? I say, “Hell, I’m tired.” I stopped using the gun a while back when I realized how many children were paying attention to it. But she’s getting older that’s all that is.
ESSENCE.com: You worked with Marla Gibbs, John Amos and Eugene Levy, comedy pros. What did you pick up from them? PERRY: Eugene is what I expected him to be. He’s beyond brilliant, fascinatingly funny. To be around Florence from The Jeffersons and James [Amos] from Good Times… to stand in the presence of people that I’ve admired is amazing. If I had met them when I was 10 years old watching those shows I would have been blow away. So to have them working with me is fascinating.
ESSENCE.com: You wrote, directed and produced Madea’s Witness Protection. Do you foresee a time when a young filmmaker can direct a Tyler Perry production? PERRY: I’d love that. I’m looking for them. I actually have a film coming out called We the Peoples that is written and directed by Tina Chisholm. It comes out sometime next year. She is one of the first directors that I am fostering. I’m looking for them but they’ve got to have the right spirit. I’m not looking for arrogance or ego and I’m not looking for people coming with their nose up in the air because they went to NYU film school and they’ve done this and that. They have to have respect for the guerilla, grassroots approach. I’m looking for people who are humble, hungry, and eager to learn and are also eager to teach. There are some young brilliant filmmakers out there. I would be excited to find them.
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article courtesy of Essence.com