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Tyler Perry set to adapt and direct ‘For Colored Girls’

Tyler Perry at this summer's Atlanta Urban League luncheon.

Tyler Perry at this summer

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?

45 comments Add your comment

ConcretelyAmbiguous

September 8th, 2009
7:46 am

I believe he absolutely does. Many say that all comedy comes from a place of pain. I think his lighthearted approach to his work has allowed him a buffer when it comes to other projects. I think that’s the reason he’ll be able to venture out and be successful. Despite playing “characters” in his films, I think this’ll allow him to give more of his true self in an “outside” film. I wish him great success!

CA
The Truth and Nothing…But..
http://www.concretelyambiguous.com

GA Girl

September 8th, 2009
8:26 am

Mr. Perry can do anything he wants. I hope Colored Girl will include all of the ladies from the play including Chrystal Fox. Additionally, Jasmine Guy as one of the characters rather than the director. Excellent play. Excellent choice.

Lucy Bloom

September 8th, 2009
8:47 am

I agree with both GA Girl and ConcretelyAmbiguous.

DJ The Realist

September 8th, 2009
8:51 am

I believe Tyler is capable enough to handle this type of work. I wish him well ” For Colored Girls ” is definitely a radical departure from anything he has done in the past.

MzMiller

September 8th, 2009
8:58 am

This production will show audience rather T. Perry “truly’ has talent or not. Luckily the screenplay is already written, so he does not have to piece together old material from previous movies.
Perry’s past films have all fed off one another and are very similar and predictable.

Les

September 8th, 2009
9:00 am

I can’t think of anyone more capable at doing this than Perry. He has the sensitivity.

Claudette

September 8th, 2009
9:02 am

ABSOLUTELY!!!!

Ms. Maddox

September 8th, 2009
9:06 am

Ifeel that he (Mr.Perry)can and will do a great job Why because he think outside of the box.

Bob

September 8th, 2009
9:08 am

I wonder if Tyler Perry will do any work for “non colored” people in the future.

Ms. Maddox

September 8th, 2009
9:08 am

I feel he (mr. perry) will do a great job, Why Because he think outside of the box.

Ms. Maddox

September 8th, 2009
9:09 am

Enter your comments here

Glenda

September 8th, 2009
9:09 am

Tyler Perry is a ‘gifted’ and anointed man who loves God and his fellow man.Who’s to say he should be ‘boxed’ in to mans ‘categories’ for his life! May God continue to use you Tyler and bless you with all the creativity and resources you need to ‘perfect’ the Ministry he’s give you to pursue to impact this world!

Why?

September 8th, 2009
9:23 am

I think a black female director should have the opportunity to direct. While Perry is certainly successful, I don’t think this is a good vehicle for him.

Mike357

September 8th, 2009
9:24 am

Through personal struggles I think he is well prepared to do a excellent job with this movie.

Best wishes Tyler

nikki

September 8th, 2009
9:26 am

NOPE! Mr.Perry should not direct For colored girls…. The industry really knows how to screw up artistic expression don’t they? Everything is not meant to be remade, reinterpreted, re , re re re. Let some things be! Let it be! For colored girls is beautiful as an onstage production. Jasmine Guy did an excellent job implementing dance and drum. Nicole Parker and Robin Givens were big name box office draw, but the real star of the Kenny Leon production was the Lady in Red Crystal Fox is her name I think? She played in In the HEat of the Night and the Lady in Blue – those sistahs were fierce! Tyler Perry, please no! Don’t do it!

B.Wilder

September 8th, 2009
9:39 am

I think this is going to be Awesome! I just hope they strongly consider the women apart of the stage play if they have screen presence including Yakini Horn (one of the performers). This play is truly worth adaptation to the Silver Screen. I can’t wait to see it. Go Tyler! (and go Jasmine for bringing it to the stage)

Jeff M.

September 8th, 2009
9:49 am

Tyler Perry has a knack…..and his knack is directing, acting, and producing movies. I seen “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” at an early screening and if you think that his movies are not serious enough…..you are not looking at the story lines in the movie. Why can’t a man be multitalented or multifaceted???? What irks me are people who can see the FUTURE!!! You have NO IDEA how the movie will turn out……but if you look at Tyler’s track record…….you will get a good idea! DO YOUR THING TYLER AND KEEP MAKING US PROUD!!!

SoJo

September 8th, 2009
9:50 am

The reason why Ringling Brothers Circus has survived for over 100 years is because people cling to the familiar. I applaud Mr. Perry for being courageous enough to initially float the idea that Madea would someday be put to rest, and secondly to pursue a project that is outside of the box that ‘we’ have put him in. I think that this effort will further reinforce the fact that African Americans are a complex race of people capable of operating well beyond the limits of three small rings.

Anotherleftsista

September 8th, 2009
9:53 am

I am very nervous about Tyler Perry doing “For Colored Girls . . .”. No doubt he is talented, but like someone said, his movies have become very predictable; in his movies, sometimes there is a subtle knock against women who are high achievers and/or college educated. And the stereotypical large, loud Black woman, the “matriarch” in the family is so played out. Enough already! I would have preferred Euchan Palcy or the sister, I forget her first name but her last name is Dash, she did the film 1990s films, “Daughters in the Dust”. Thanks!

RH

September 8th, 2009
10:10 am

Who is Tyler Perry?

Tim

September 8th, 2009
10:12 am

Tyler perry is a overrated hack. his material is all the same and all he’s doing is selling black women dreams with his recycled garbage. Angry Bitter trobled black woman.Check.Succesful but screwed up black man.Check.Down on his luck blue collar black man saves the day.Check. Big church scene in the end where everything works out fine. Check.Give me a break already.

Kevin

September 8th, 2009
10:13 am

Mr. Perry can truly do anything. But apparently “anything” only encompasses works by, for and about black people.

BJ

September 8th, 2009
10:18 am

I believe Tyler Perry’s name will probably bring more people to movie theaters and I think a greater number of people (who otherwise wouldn’t have seen or read the choreopoem) will be exposed to Ntozake Shange.

I don’t necessarily agree with bringing this poem to the box office, nor do I think he has a body of work that would indicate he could pull this off successfully. But at the end of the day, someone has confidence in his talent. My only hope is the essence of this poem is not lost.

Scarab

September 8th, 2009
11:02 am

Absolutely NOT! While talented in his own way, Perry does not have the skills to bring the complexities of this Shange classic to the screen. I can think of many others with the skill and insight other than him…Kasi Lemmons, Suzanne de Passe, Jasmine Guy, Julie Dash just to name a few…that would/could do a far better job than he ever could! The ONLY reason Perry was tapped for this is that it’s all about money and not about the quality, substance of this powerful work of art and honestly transferring that quality, substance and complexity to the screen.

cii

September 8th, 2009
11:15 am

YOU KNOW THE AJC NEWSPAPER IS THE ONE THAT BRINGS CONTROVERSY BETWEEN CELEBRITIES AND FANS
IN OTHER WORDS THE AJC NEWSPAPER IS FED THROUGH GOSSIP, DRAMA, AND NEGATIVE STORIES FROM CELEBRITIES.
I AM SO HAPPY FOR MR. PERRY AND I HOPE THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO PROSPER AND EXCEL IN HIS FILM PRODUCING CAREER.
AJC YOU CONTINUE TO DO WHAT YOU FEED YOUR ARTICLES OFF OF OTHERS SUCCESS AND STIR UP FALSE CONTROVERSY.

Nancy Ellis

September 8th, 2009
11:21 am

Fortunately Tyler Perry has not listened to outside opinions and criticisims, otherwise he would not have achieved the level of success he has. Time will tell. My best wishes to him.

Scarab

September 8th, 2009
11:29 am

There’s another crucial piece of information the AJC is NOT reporting about this. Lionsgate had already inked a deal earlier this year with Nzingha
Stewart to direct For Colored Girls!! (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS183459+25-Mar-2009+PRN20090325) Nzingha not only wrote a powerful screenplay adaption of Shange’s classic choreopoem, she was set to direct it! So AJC, investigate and tell us what happened! Why/how this talented woman, who had a deal with Lionsgate, got the boot from Lionsgate in favor of Perry? What’s really going on?

All I'm Saying Is...

September 8th, 2009
11:36 am

Tyler Perry directing will not be an issue. The question is will they update the book for a play that is 35 years old so that the movie version is relevant to 2010 and interesting on film.

Since I had the chance to see both, I can say from first-hand knowledge that the film adaptation of the award winning play The Wiz, for example, was uninspired and not that interesting despite the all-star cast (Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell among others in the film) and the short passage of time between the Broadway play and the film version. On the other hand, Dreamgirls was translated well to film.

CommonSenseRules

September 8th, 2009
11:37 am

My initial thought was: Hollywood is Hollywood. It’s all about the Benjamins. Period. If Perry wanted to ‘weight up’, with regard to his movies, then he could have done a substantial piece of his own. I respect Givens’ and Guy’s efforts, even though I don’t consider them top drawer cinematically.

I’m from Missouri on this one: you’ve got to show me. Unfortunately, many talented directors who have demonstrated that they’ve got what it takes to mount serious dramatizations on the big screen have been bypassed for this project.

On a positive note, despite the limitations of the ‘Hollywoodization’ of signifcant literary works, exposure to Shange’s work does have the potential to be beneficial to some audience members on a number of levels. If the dramatizaton of her work helps *anyone* expand their literary repertoire, or benefits them personally, then all the better.

Perhaps, it may lead some actually to read the choreopoem and Shange’s other work, even though that doesn’t appear to be commonplace. Alice Walker comes to mind. 24 years after the horrible flap over film, _The Color Purple_, many who criticized Walker, *still* never have read the actual book. One can always hope… .

notty

September 8th, 2009
11:43 am

i think he should stick with Madea…

thank you

September 8th, 2009
12:05 pm

No doubt! Perry can do it and I think he’s been looking for a chance to do something other than Madea. Now that he’s completing his deal with Lionsgate to do his plays on film, he can move on to meatier subjects.

A Realist

September 8th, 2009
12:13 pm

I agree with CommonSenseRules’ comments. Many of the people that have had negative comments to post on this blog about Perry have probably not even read the choreopoem nor been to a production of the dramatic piece which as been performed several times in the Atlanta area in years past. In fact, many of these same people probably haven’t been to a live stage production in Atlanta in years which is why so many of the BLACK theater companies (Jomandi, Just Us, etc.) have gone by the wayside due to a lack of support.

Quit talking out of both sides of your mouth!!!!! At least Perry’s production company (LOCATED IN ATLANTA) creates jobs. How many have YOU created in the Black community??????

Scarab

September 8th, 2009
1:04 pm

Not only do I have a copy of the choreopoem and have read it numerous times. I also acted in it, as the Lady in Orange, during a stage production of the work. And I’ve lost count of the number of live stage productions I’ve seen in Atlanta from numerous theatre companies.

Wow!

September 8th, 2009
1:08 pm

On the last blog about Perry I was taken to task for criticize his work. I can believe that someone (Hollywood) would allow Perry to even touch this film. I don’t believe that he is able to bring the artistic essence to this great piece of work. Jasmine Guy did a wonderful job this summer. I could think of a host of directors that could tackle this project: Kenny Leon, Jasmine Guy, Gina Prince-Blythewood, Julie Dash (Daughter’s of the Dust), Leslie Harris, Kasi Lemmons, Coquie Hughes and Darnell Martin. I could go on but you get the point.

As a filmmaker here in Atlanta it drives me crazy to see how Perry is worshiped. He is an ok filmmaker but challenge him to be better than ok.

Cathy

September 8th, 2009
1:16 pm

Bob,
Tyler Perry will begin to tell the stories of non-blacks when others like Woody Allen, and Scorcese, begin to the stories of other non-whites. I am also certain that when Perry approached studio execs with his story line he received less than a warm welcome. Let’s not criticize our story-tellers until we get a chance to know their struggles to be heard.

Dee

September 8th, 2009
1:34 pm

It is my sincerest hope that Crystal Fox joins the on screen cast. As for TP directing it, one thing is for sure this guy is smart enough to bring in whoever he needs to make this an impactful movie. If not seen in live theater, “For Colored Girls” is definetly a must see for any woman who ever went through anything. I thought I wouldn’t relate when I went to see it at SW Arts Center and found myself fighting back tears. Another advantage for having Perry on board is his sometimes simplication of topics, his ability to make the most common person understand. For those under-educated and who may not grasp all the concepts from the original playwright, I am certain through TP’s vision ALL will walk away with full understanding and prayerfully some clarity for their own lives to press on.

Richard A. Chiles

September 8th, 2009
1:36 pm

It is a dissapointment to Ntzoke’s coreopoem. There are many talented directors who can take this work with the depth that it deserves. Gina Prince has demonstrated the craftmanship through her wonderful and rich body of work… a fullness of story… depth of charector and cinemaphotography (secret life of bees)

For colored girls deserves to be more than the siplistic one note morality gospel stage plays on film that Tyler Perry has made a lot of money producing… His heavy hand on this work will be like condensing Toni Morrison to a comic book…..

Maybe he’ll cast himself as women in Yellow– or Yeller —Haleluyer

stephanie

September 8th, 2009
1:50 pm

this is a play that was done at my university. when you know what the characters will do you know that he can handle it. You have to spread your wings to know how far you can fly. He is well able and capable to do this.

sharon

September 8th, 2009
1:52 pm

You betcha Tyler Perry can pull it off! Daddy’s Little Girls and the Family That Preys are examples of what he can do outside of Madea. However, I am hoping that Tyler doesn’t use the same people from his other projects like he tends to do. As for other people who could direct this play, i have one thing to say: “the early bird gets the worm”.

duv4luv

September 8th, 2009
2:11 pm

Certainly Perry should embark on the Colored Girls material for big screen. OMG I have noticed that hollywood has gravely tried to immulate his ‘real’ people ‘real’ family lifestories. To no avail no real success. Sure Ringling Brothers has thrived many years. The factor their is a new group of youths/families will garner them a new audience every 3-4 years.

Perry’ work: TV, big screen and stage have prompted and aleted the entertainment media powers that be – that people like seeing themselves! People that are: young, old, yellow, purple, black, white, rich, educated etc etc in TRUE ENTERTAINMNET form. Madea will always be a staple in his work. Please TP bring it all on. We love everything you do and cannot wait until the next show/movie!!

AreYouSerious

September 8th, 2009
3:02 pm

Tyler Perry is a very talented, intelligent and capable man. He’ll do a great job in this endeavor. Plus, he’s been in the industry long enough to know what he can and can’t do…successfully. And I’m sure he has enough faith to attempt and succeed at the things that he thinks he can’t do. I wish him continued success in branching out, and reaching beyond Madea. After all…it’s all about progression.

Lily Gibbs

September 8th, 2009
3:16 pm

I would like to be a character of “Grandma” who has a distinct walk with a cane. I laughed so hard and long one night watching the “Brown’s” I gained a new respect for Tyler Perry. So am I in? FOR COLORED GIRLS is for me. I am Negro.

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[...] TYLER PERRY & FOR COLORED GIRLS Did you know Tyler Perry is set to direct a big screen adaptation of the Tony-nominated Ntozake Shange play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf?” Get More Info [...]