Tyler Perry is one of the most successful men in Hollywood. In two decades, he has built a multimedia empire as an actor, writer, director and producer with credits that include movies, TV sitcoms and stage plays.
Most recently, Perry, 43, joined forces with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel in a multiyear deal to provide TV series and projects for the cable network.
But the project that he’s preoccupied with at the moment is Alex Cross, his first attempt at being an action star. Perry portrays the title character, a Detroit homicide detective from the bestselling novels by James Patterson. It’s a role Morgan Freeman filled in two previous movies ( Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls).
The assignment couldn’t be more different from Perry’s most famous creation: the loud, fierce and funny grandmother he dons a wig and dress to portray in the hit Madea movies.
“I went to work as an actor and let go and let producers be producers and directors be directors and just acted, so it was really great for me,” he says.
Perry prepared carefully to portray Cross. He mostly stayed in character on the set, a Method approach. Helearned about handling firearms from Darcy Leutzinger, whose Shotokan 911 has worked with films like Red Dawn and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
And he underwent some intense physical training in Krav Maga, a self-defense art used by many law enforcement groups.
“It was a two-hour workout in the morning and then in the afternoon, there was another two hours of Krav Maga, which is the most physically draining, exhausting workout I’ve ever had in my life,” says Perry. “It’s an amazing fighting technique that I kept up after the movie because I enjoyed it so much.”
Detroit Free Press