“For Colored Girls” represents the biggest challenge of Tyler Perry’s filmmaking career. Gone are Madea and the Atlanta-based mogul’s other stock characters.
In their stead, Perry took on the imposing task of directing many of the premier black actresses in Hollywood in an adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s beloved 1975 feminist play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.”
You can see for yourself how well he succeeded on Friday, when the film hits theaters.
For now, we offer some keys you need to know about the New York-set film:
Tyler Perry: Most influential person in show business?
Thanks in large part to the popularity of his films and stage shows featuring Madea, the aggressively opinionated grandma character created by Perry, the 41-year-old Atlanta native has achieved such multiplatform success that he owns his own studio. According to Forbes, he earned $125 million between June 2009 and June 2010.
It’s not your everyday play
Shange’s work is a collection of 20 poems on hot-button issues such as abortion and rape. There is no conventional narrative. To bring the “choreopoem” to the big screen, Perry had to create interwoven characters and storylines, with Shange’s words as his jumping-off point.
The filmmaker lined up an astonishing ensemble of gifted actresses. Among them: Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and Whoopi Goldberg. Perry’s cast collectively has won just about every award in the book.
Lionsgate is planning an Oscar push for the movie, according to reports, and the film is garnering frequent attention from top awards prognosticators. Moreover, the studio bumped up the release from the dead zone of January to this Friday, the beginning of awards season.