Tyler Perry is a multi-talented presence in the film world, serving as an actor, writer, director, and producer for countless projects. But his name is perhaps most commonly associated with his over the top character Mabel "Madea" Simmons. Perry's relationship with Madea goes back to his 1991 play I Can Do Bad All By Myself, while she made her silver screen debut in Diary Of a Mad Black Woman. But he's hanging up her wig and glasses soon, as his new release A Madea Family Funeral will be his last time playing the character.
I had the chance to see A Madea Family Funeral, and then speak with Tyler Perry about his long tenure as the title character. When I asked him about the transformation to become Madea, he revealed that she lives just below the surface of his psyche, with:
No, it’s right now, anytime I get it. You know, it’s just a character. She’s there. When I’m writing she’s in my head, so all of those things are just accoutrement to help her come alive to other people. But she’s very alive in my head all the time.
It looks like Tyler Perry doesn't need the various Madea fixins in order to transform into his signature character. Instead, he lives with her all the time. It's no short wonder that she's had such a long career on film, or that Perry is able to juggle multiple characters in addition to his work as a director.
Tyler Perry's comments make a great deal of sense, as he's had a long history with Madea. A Madea Family Funeral will mark the whopping 11th onscreen appearance of the character, in addition to the myriad stage plays that Perry has also written and starred in. You have to be especially close to a character to continue playing her for decades, and Tyler Perry and Madea clearly have a very close bond.
You can check out my conversation with Tyler Perry below, where he instantly jumps into Madea's signature voice for extra measure.
Hallelujer and goodnight, because A Madea Family Funeral will be Tyler Perry's last time getting into drag and dishing out zingers as his signature character. Additionally, he'll be introducing a new character in Heathrow, who the actor/director told me was his favorite to inhabit during Madea's swan song film. Who knows? Maybe Heathrow will end up getting a franchise of his own.
A Madea Family Funeral will arrive in theaters on March 1, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.