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Tyler Perry: Movies with all-black casts “becoming extinct”

A still from "Good Deeds," which will be released next month. It's one of many films Tyler Perry has in the works at the moment.

A still from "Good Deeds," which will be released next month. It's one of many films Tyler Perry has in the works at the moment.

Prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry fears movies starring all-black casts are “on the verge of becoming extinct,” he said in a message posted on his web site.

Perry, who has just finished filming “The Marriage Counselor” and has just cranked up work on “Madea’s Witness Protection,” has another movie, “Good Deeds,” about to be released next month.

His message, though, deals with the release of “Red Tails,” a George Lucas film about the Tuskegee Airmen. It opened today.

(Here’s our blog post about an advance screening attended by members of the Tuskegee Airmen Atlanta Chapter.)

“Red Tails is an important story about, not just black history, but American history about the Tuskegee Airmen,” Perry said. “It has an all-star African American cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.

Perry noted that Lucas financed the movie himself.

“What a guy! For him to believe so strongly in this story is amazing,” Perry wrote. ” I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African Americans, but all of us. I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too.”

Perry sounded less than optimistic about the plight of projects featuring all-black casts in general, though.

“l begin to see less and less films that star an all black cast,” he wrote. “Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike then not. I must tell you that I have been very fortunate to work with a studio that sees the value in my type of storytelling and filmmaking. As well as having you, an audience of all races of people, who have stood by me arm and arm. It has helped me navigate through some pretty rough waters.”

Perry ends his note with a personal message to Lucas: “George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.”

Do you plan to see "Red Tails?"

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- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

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