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Introducing Darren Grant - The Man Who Started It All

by Sergio
October 23, 2013 12:19 AM
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Started what all? Read on and I’ll explain...

If you asked anyone who directs Tyler Perry's movies, the answer is, of course, Tyler Perry. And with the exception of Tyler Perry’s Peeples, if Perry’s name is above the title then Perry directed it.

So when Tina Gordon Chism directed Peebles, it was believed that she was the first person ever, other than Perry, to direct a film that he produced, and with his name in the title.

But actually that’s not true. Before her, there was Darren Grant.

Darren Grant you say. Who’s he? You’ve forgotten already? He’s the guy who directed Diary of a Mad Black Woman, the film that started it all.

The film that begat the Tyler Perry's worldwide domination. Without the box office success of that movie there wouldn’t have been all the other 1,496 TP movies, no studio, no miscasting of Perry at Alex Cross, no surprise cameo in that Star Trek movie, no countless TV shows and no saving Oprah Winfrey Network’s butt… I mean bacon, otherwise known as the OWN Network.

Perry owes Darren Grant big time. So why haven’t we heard much from him since Mad Black Woman? Good question. I’ve been asking that myself lately.

Though Chism’s Peeples was a flop, she already has a few projects in development, including a comedy series, Crushed, for HBO. Grant however, since Mad Black Woman, directed just one indie feature titled Make It Happen, in 2008.

However does list two projects currently in development: Hypnotize 3D, which is listed as currently in “pre-production” although no other information is given; and West End Blues, a drama involving jazz musicians set in New Orleans

Whether those two films ever get made is yet to be seen.

Now, you can say that Mad Black Woman wasn’t a good film, but that’s irrelevant. The film was a major B.O. smash, which would have normally guaranteed, one assumes, several projects directed by Grant by now. And if you think I’m suggesting that that’s unfair, you are correct. It is unfair.

So I’ve been curious why Grant seemingly didn’t get more opportunities, or, at least, why Perry didn't let him direct a few more features for him. For ego’s sake, Perry still could have his name above the title, even if Grant directs.

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  • David Merritt | November 19, 2013 11:17 PMReply

    Much needed article. Darren and I directed Music Videos together at Visual Artists. He is a phenomenal director that works hard and brings out the best in his cast and crew. I look forward to his future projects.

  • Cetre | November 19, 2013 7:16 PMReply

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I was one of those lucky ones that worked with Darren on several of his music videos and commercials...and I can tell you first hand that he's an all around really good dude that has taught me tons and helped (and still does) my own directing career. Kudos to you, DG.

  • CT | November 19, 2013 4:09 PMReply

    Sergio, Darren Grant has been a serious director for many years. He has shot many music videos and commercials and I am sure his next feature is in the works. I do agree that Diary was and still is the best TP film to date. I wish Perry would give more credit to Darren but alas I know this will never happen. Thanks for writing about my boy!

  • Darren | November 19, 2013 3:53 PMReply

    Thanks for the shout out Sergio, great article. The history behind this movie is a long one and I could go on for hours. Truth is, I did make some rookie mistakes after the films success but the fact remains that it was a great movie. I made it a point to make a film that was cinematic and not the cliche that it could have been, hence the quality of film that was ultimately delivered. I cut my teeth for many years in music videos and commercials and and I still do, but there a big things on the horizon. Thank you for the support and kind words.


  • Nadell | October 24, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    I always thought "Diary" was Perry's best film. And this explains it all. There is a difference in Perry's films - his 1st in comparison to all his others.

  • truth | October 23, 2013 12:04 PMReply

    TP learned how to direct film by watching Darren. DMBW was his film school so to speak. Once it was over he had no more use for Darren. It had to be all about Tyler. Pretty simple. Darren's inability to capitalize on the film's success for other projects is on him though.

  • terrell | October 23, 2013 5:48 AMReply

    On the directors commentary of Diary of a Mad Black Woman dvd, Tyler perry said He and Darren went hand and hand with the direction, He directed parts but Darren directed the majority. So technically he still get some credit for direction.

  • sergio | October 23, 2013 8:18 AM

    Except that in the film business all that means is whose name is on the credits and it's Grant, not Grant and Perry. It's not unusual for someone to come in later after a film is successful and claim credit. As I recall Lee Daniels claimed later he "co-directed" Mosnter's Ball after Halle Berry won her Oscar

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