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Look out for more coverage of
Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail

THE STARS:
Tyler Perry • Keshia Knight Pulliam • Derek Luke • David Mann • Tamela Mann • Ion Overman
DIRECTOR: Tyler Perry

Two faces of Tyler Perryn as Madea THE CONCEPT:
After a high-speed freeway chase puts Madea (Perry), the irreverent, pistol-packing grandmother, is in front of the judge, her reprieve is short-lived as anger management issues get the best of her and land her in jail. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Hardaway (Luke) lands a case defending a young prostitute, Candice Washington (Knight Pulliam), whom he realizes he knows from the past, so he asks his fiancée, fellow ADA Linda Holmes (Overman), to handle the case for him – when Candice ends up in jail, Madea befriends and protects her.

U.S. RELEASE: February 20 2009, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

TYLER PERRY on the first time he played Madea:
Tyler Perry as Madea“David and Tam (Mann) were with me the very first time I did Madea [on stage] in Chicago. I was scared to death. I’m a 6’ 6” man, and I just went for it and was the character. Madea began to [develop] on tour, I would be shocked at things that would come out of her mouth, but when you are on tour in front of thousands of people every night, they tell you what works immediately, and they tell you what you can’t do. I learned how far I could take her, and learned how far I couldn’t. But I hate the make up, I hate the process, I hate the pantyhose. I hate talking high. David and Tamela know how much I hated every night getting into the costume. Some nights Madea had a full beard on stage, because I just didn’t feel like shaving. But the great thing about it is this character has allowed me to say things to people and help show things to our children and educate them in a way that has never been done, and I’m grateful for that.”

KESHIA KNIGHT PULLIAM on the first time she saw Perry as Madea:
Keshia Knight Pulliam“Everyone else had worked with Tyler before, and I had worked with him on [his TV series] House of Payne, but I’d never met Madea. I just knew Tyler the writer, director, producer, the man who runs the show. So, I came around the corner, we were doing the jail scene, I heard Tyler talking as a director, setting up the shot, and he was Madea, and it was a shock and hilarious all at the same time. He just caught me off guard.”

DEREK LUKE:
Keshia Knight Pulliam“I was in awe of Tyler Perry. I told Tyler when I first met him, I had an article [about him] cut out from Variety and I had it on my desk as inspiration, because I felt like he had transcended all the impossibilities, and I loved the fact that it was all faith-based. I mean that literally, because I can’t really be in acting without any sense of faith. I wanted to bring that [faith] back to the kids in Jersey, where I’m from. When you dream big and you manifest [your dreams] you affect not just you but everybody around you. So it was powerful. It’s still having an impact. I heard an interview with Tyler, comparing him to Disney, and he said, ‘I ain’t the Black Disney,’ and it’s true. He’s his own individual. A man that came from God, a Godsend, I think it’s powerful, impressive and inspirational.”

PERRY on Madea’s anger management scenes with Dr Phil:
“It was Robin, Dr Phil’s wife, who made him do it. Robin loved Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and she was my champion in the McGraw household. The scene was scripted, we did the scripted version and then we let two cameras roll, and [we improvised]. That man is funny. When he said to me, ‘You would have to get crazy to be better,’ he threw me off guard with that one, because that’s stuff Madea would say. I have major respect for anybody who can sit and hang with Madea, after years of being on stage and getting quick, for this guy to be able to do that was great.”

KNIGHT PULLIUM:
“This role was definitely the hardest I’ve ever had to work at a character, and that’s why I took it, because I wanted that challenge. Honestly, at the end of the day, she’s like every one of us. I think the story behind her is that we all have choices and sometimes we make bad ones, but no matter how bad or destitute we think the situation is, there’s always a way back. I did talk to some people who had issues with drug abuse; heroin, and were led down the road to prostitution. Ultimately, Tyler really did help me a lot along the way to connect real life experiences where I may have felt that pain, that isolation. I think everybody can identify with the feelings.”

PERRY:
“I take a lot of crap for writing simple stories. It’s deliberate, because I’m talking to people who are four to 80 years old. I’m talking to educated people and not educated people, so my fan base is so across the board that I have to keep in mind everybody I’m talking to. It is specific and deliberate. I assure you, I could go out there and do something artistic or funny, or really dramatic and weird; I could do that, but that’s not my purpose or my calling in this life at this moment.”

LUKE:
“I’m from a long line of praying women, from my grandmother to my mom, and what I love about Madea and these stories, they are simplistic, but no matter where I go people are talking about them. They’re talking about how they find themselves in the stories, how they relate to it.”

PERRY:
“This country needs to laugh right now. We all know what’s going on. People are losing their jobs with the economy [down]. I went to work to make people laugh. That was my purpose with this movie. I was going to do whatever it was to make it as funny as I could.”

On set

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail site
Images above © Lionsgate
Feature © 2009 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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