Tyler Perry Claims Playing Madea Has Always Made Him Uncomfortable, Despite Massive Success

Tyler Perry is a media empire. The actor, producer, and playwright has turned the Madea Universe into the most lucrative brand on the planet, diversifying over the years but also staying true to the thing that attracted people in the first place. That is until recently. Perry has stepped out of his comfort zone for the ambitious new film A Jazzman’s Blues, now out on Netflix. According to the media mogul, the film was written 27 years ago.

The project is described as a Jim Crow-era romance about a failed relationship between two teenagers. It is a passion project for Perry and the first screenplay he ever wrote back in 1995. Perry says that he has always been intentional about his films, knowing that fans would respond well to the Madea and Why Did I Get Married films. However, when it came to Jazzman’s Blues, he wanted to wait for the perfect moment to create this film. Perry says that a lot of his other films felt like work, but this one “felt like love.” “Every element, everything you touched, from the sets to the trees to the location, it all spoke to me,” he told CNN. “And it was more than what I ever imagined when I wrote it 27 years ago.”

The film is easily Perry’s most expensive to date and looks like money well spent. He’s earned the right to such a lush film after pocketing millions over the years and building one of the largest studios in the country. His studio is so massive that several of Marvel’s superhero films are shot there.

For Perry, this movie signifies a step toward a new director for the creator, who has always prioritized comedy and quick turnarounds over good stories. Now he is ready for the shift and is admitting that he was not always comfortable playing Madea, the character that made him a megastar.

Perry admits that the costume, dress, and playing the character were always uncomfortable, but the character took on a life of her own, making it impossible for him to part from the portrayal. Perry says that it started as a happy accident when a lead actor did not show up, so he had to improvise through their scene as Madea. The crowd responded positively, and he continued to make her bigger and bigger. Now she is one of the most recognizable characters of all time.

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