Atlanta director and writer Tyler Perry has added another first to his resume. Hollywood trade publication Variety is reporting that Perry has inked a deal to adapt and direct a big screen adaptation of the Tony-nominated Ntozake Shange play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.”
The project is the first film that Perry will direct not involving source material created by the playwright. It also represents a darker, more dramatic departure for the filmmaker best known for his popular Madea movies.
The project represents a risk for Perry. He will likely court controversy from “For Colored Girls” fans who may argue that the director’s trademark touch is too lightweight for the much-revered 35-year old material. The classic choreopoem deals frankly and emotionally with serious topics, including abortion and rape.
According to Variety, Perry will produce the film for Lionsgate and shooting will begin at his southwest Atlanta studio facility in November. Casting for the 1974 Obie-winning play has not yet been announced.
Still, Perry would be hard pressed to find a more talented cast than Jasmine Guy, Nicole Ari Parker and Robin Givens, the trio of actresses who staged this summer’s popular revival of the work for True Colors Theatre production at the Southwest Arts Center.
Of the weighty material, Guy, who directed the Atlanta production, told Buzz: “It’s about dusting off your dreams and pushing past the pain in life.”
Added Parker: “I’ve been rehearsing for three days and I’ve cried for two-and-a-half of them. The monologues are affecting me in different ways.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, Perry was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the same Atlanta Urban League luncheon attended by the “Colored Girls” cast.
So, what’s your take?
Does the director behind “The Family That Preys,” “Daddy’s Little Girls” and that powerful plantation slave quarters family reunion scene with Cicely Tyson and Maya Angelou in “Madea’s Family Reunion” have the dramatic tools necessary to bring “Colored Girls” to the big screen? Or should he concentrate only on “Madea”-centric material?