It's hard to believe that Tyler Perry has only been making films for seven years. Beginning with Diary of a Mad Black Woman (which he wrote, but did not direct), the actor/writer/director/mogul has released around a dozen movies of his original creation (For Colored Girls, being the exception); not to mention, his short-lived Meet the Browns television spinoff and successful House of Payne series. Perry's detractors haven't exactly softened their stance toward his art, but his target audience, as a whole, remains pretty much as loyal as ever.
Perry is pulling out his famous (career-defining?) grandmother drag outfit for this week's release, Madea's Witness Protection. However, it appears that he could abandon his old bag of tricks on a future project - an original sci-fi movie, to be exact.
Blackfilm sat down for an interview with Perry, shortly before the New York City premiere of Madea's Witness Protection. The discussion eventually turned to what sort of movies influenced Perry during his childhood, where the filmmaker dropped the following tidbit:
"I love Sci Fi, I love the 'Alien' movies and the 'Alien' franchise. I was very disappointed with 'Prometheus', but I love that whole franchise. Those are my favorite movies. I’m actually working on a sci-fi movie right now. [I can't say anything other than] I'm writing a sci-fi movie that I’m really excited about."
Sci-fi would be very different territory for Perry, as his only previous connection to the genre was an appearance in the Star Trek reboot. Perry the storyteller is famous (or infamous - take your pick) for crafting films that mix broad physical comedy with exaggerated melodrama, to varying degrees of success. One could interpret his name-dropping Alien and Prometheus as a suggestion that Perry has a similar mashup of sci-fi/horror in the works, which would really be new territory for him. All things considered, though, that's probably too great a leap in speculation.
The Alex Cross trailer premiered earlier this week, featuring Perry as the titular detective. Early reception for what was shown from his performance is lukewarm (at best). Nonetheless, it was nice to see a pigeonholed performer like Perry expand his horizons - even with limited success. The same goes for the mogul working outside his comfort zone with a sci-fi project, which he will almost certainly direct (as he does with virtually every one of his scripts).
Moreover, when you look at Perry's directing efforts in order of their release, there does seem to be an upward trend in quality; that points towards his continued maturation as a visual storyteller. Who knows, maybe his sci-fi flick could end up being the film that wins over the most devoted members of Camp Anti-Perry (but you probably shouldn't hold your breath).
We'll keep an eye out for any additional tidbits about Perry's new sci-fi movie. In the meantime, you can catch Madea's Witness Protection in U.S. theaters beginning June 29th, 2012.