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 imbd.com 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.