"Peeples" infuses a
Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Perry’
"Peeples" infuses a
Black Feminist Classic Refreshed Courtesy of Tyler Perry
Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf made a big splash when it debuted on Broadway back in the Seventies. The emotionally-draining “choreopoem” was essentially a series of soul-baring monologues plumbing the depths of the African-American female psyche on sensitive subjects ranging from sexuality to spirituality. Performed by a nameless cast of seven troubled women, this hybrid of drama and poetry met with critical acclaim, although it particularly resonated with sisters.
Ms. Shange subsequently wrote the screenplay for a made-for-TV version of her opus which aired on PBS’ American Playhouse in 1982. And she also appeared in the movie version opposite Alfre Woodard, Sophie Okenedo and Lynn Whitfield.
The unenviable challenge of adapting her much-beloved production to the big screen has now fallen to Tyler Perry, a man who proves himself up to the challenge. He ostensibly began by abbreviating the original’s cumbersome, grammatically-challenged name, which only makes sense, since it had been coined back during a more loquacious era when wordy was fashionable not only in terms of movie titles (Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) but in advertising slogans (“Vicks’ Nyquil: The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head fever so you can rest medicine”) as well.
Next, the inventive Perry fleshed out the lead roles, while adding a number of support characters to the ensemble and updating some themes (ala AIDS and the down-low) as concessions to 21st Century cultural sensibilities. More importantly, however, he has preserved the source material’s relentlessly-harrowing tone.
Loyal Tyler Perry fans will appreciate how his enhanced plotline emulates that of his ever-popular morality plays, except for those trademark touches of humor. The stellar cast assembled to execute his vision includes Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Kimberly Elise, Phylicia Rashad, Macy Gray, Anika Noni Rose and Whoopi Goldberg.
The story is set in a seedy, Harlem tenement inhabited by several of the protagonists. Each, we learn, is already deeply enmeshed in some sort of family dysfunction, from promiscuous bartender Tangie (Newton) who brings home a different stud every night, to her pregnant, teenage sister (Tessa Thompson) in urgent need of an abortion, to their clueless mother (Goldberg), a hoarder caught in the clutches a religious cult. Just across the hall, lives the apartment building’s relatively-composed manager (Rashad) whose self-assured manner might be a mask.
On the floor below, we find Crystal (Elise) being battered by the unemployed, alcoholic boyfriend (Michael Ealy) she refuses to marry yet can’t summon up the gumption to dump. Then there’s Juanita (Devine), a free clinic nurse who counsels others about relationships, but remains in denial about the abysmal state of her own. Naïve dance instructor Yasmine (Rose) comes to regret accepting a date from a flirtatious stranger (Khalil Kain) she meets on the street.
More upscale, but no less troubled are Kelly (Washington), a social worker worried about how her police officer husband (Hill Harper) will react to the news that she can’t conceive. Last but not least, there’s Jo (Jackson), a famous fashion magazine editor, whose closet-gay beau (Omari Hardwick) has been using her for a beard. .
Eventually, all of the assorted melodramas serendipitously merge and resolve themselves satisfactorily right on cue for a typically-preachy, Perry denouement during which our heroines take turns expressing their resolve to rise above their overwhelming personal challenges. A fresh interpretation of For Colored Girls which puts to rest the question of whether that black feminist classic was too dated to be adapted to the screen.
All that was missing was a pistol-packing granny in drag, chirrun!
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated for sexuality, profanity and disturbing violence including rape.
Running time: 120 minutes
Studio: Lionsgate Films
To see a trailer for For Colored Girls, visit:
Here is the official trailer of the new Tyler Perry film “For Colored Girls”. It is based on Ntozake Shange’s Award-winning play, ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf’ and stars an all star cast including, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose and more.
Some are saying the film was pushed up to November to be eligible for and Oscar bid especially for the performance of Anika Noni Rose.
“For Colored Girls” will be the first project from Perry’s new production company, 34th Street Films, which is housed at Lionsgate.
The film will hit theaters on November 5th.
Bow Wow is riding this acting thing as he's just been cast in Tyler Perry’s next film, “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family.”
Adapted from his stage play, Bow Wow and the lovely Loretta Divine will co-star alongside one another as a son and mother pair, while Old Spice hunk, Isaiah Mustafa, will be the brother-in-law Devine who attempts shares some life changing information, but seems to keep getting interrupted.
The movie will be out in theaters on April 22 of next year.
After singer Mariah Carey dropped out of his latest movie, an adaptation of Ntozake Shange's 1975 play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf," less than a week before filming was to begin, director Tyler Perry had to cut short his vacation and find a replacement.
"I said, 'What? You're kidding me?,' " Perry writes in a lighthearted new letter to his fans. "It's five days before she has to go to work; nobody does that. We have a deal."
Jetting back to Atlanta where the movie is filming, he selected Thandie Newton to fill Carey's role. (She will join Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington and Janet Jackson in the cast.) Perry also discovered that the singer's doctor was to blame for her sudden departure.
"I was told that we got a call, saying that even though our deal was done, she had been advised by her doctor not to do the film," Perry writes. "I said, 'What? You know I want a doctor's note, don't you? LOL."
Janet Jackson was seen around London today showing off her new do. It seems that Ms. Jackson has decided to cut off all her hair! Janet never fails to shock us but, I'm not sure about this one.
Janet is currently in London with Tyler Perry to premiere, Why Did I Get Married Too?