Tyler Perry steps out of "Madea" into "Good Deeds"

Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:31am EST
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By Sabrina Ford

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Good Deeds" is Tyler Perry's 12th movie but it marks the first time the actor and director is the central character in a film not based on Madea, the foul-mouthed grandmother he is best known for playing on stage and the big screen.

Although Perry, 42, is far from a critics' darling, he has a fiercely loyal fan base and regularly tops U.S. box office charts with the films he writes, directs, produces and stars in. He was named Forbes' highest-paid man in entertainment in 2011, above Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg.

In "Good Deeds", which opens in U.S. movie theaters on Friday, Perry plays Wesley Deeds, a successful CEO controlled by his domineering mother until an unexpected friendship inspires him to rebel.

Reuters spoke with Perry about how he felt exposed playing Deeds, his evolution as an actor, and his role in the film adaptation later this year of James Patterson's crime thriller "I, Alex Cross."

Q: You've said playing the role of Wesley Deeds was a scary experience. How so?

A: "I'm used to having a costume. I'm used to having something to hide behind. This is the first time I feel like a lot of my life is on the screen. People don't really know a whole lot about me on purpose because I live my life very privately, but Wesley Deeds is extremely close to who I am."

Q: Church and Christian religion are usually themes in your films but not in "Good Deeds." Was that a conscious choice?

A: "No, it wasn't. I'm going to speak in a multitude of voices in my career. The message is still just as powerful. The message is just about living your own life. This life is given to you, it's a gift from God and you have to live it to the fullest."   Continued...

Director and actor Tyler Perry poses at the premiere of his new film "Good Deeds" in Los Angeles, California February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser