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Tyler Perry's 'A Madea Christmas' Casts Chad Michael Murray, Larry the Cable Guy, Kathy Najimy

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 14, 2013 11:01 AM
14 Comments
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Tyler Perry

If it's not already clear to you that Tyler Perry wants to spread his wings and reach a wider (or shall we say whiter) audience, there certainly has been enough evidence to suggest this, in recent years, as well as in upcoming anounced projects.

Nothing wrong with that, by the way. As I've said many times before, I think Tyler realizes that he can't continue to thrive in this business appealing to just one kind of audience alone.

Here's more evidence, if you're still not sure... 

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, which Perry is of course writing, directing and starring in, has landed Chad Michael Murray, Larry the Cable Guy, Kathy Najimy and Eric Lively to its cast - the common characteristic amongst them being that they are all white.

You'll recall that the last Madea movie (Madea's Witness Protection) starred Eugene LevyDenise RichardsTom ArnoldDoris Roberts, and Danielle Campbell.

Although Tika Sumpter is also reportedly a cast member, in a film with a story that sees Madea helping a friend pay her daughter a surprise visit in the country for Christmas.

Here's the official synop from Lionsgate:

Madea gets coaxed into helping a friend pay her daughter a surprise visit in the country for Christmas, but the biggest surprise is what they'll find when they arrive. As the small, rural town prepares for its annual Christmas Carnival, new secrets are revealed and old relationships are tested while Madea dishes her own brand of Christmas Spirit to all.

At the moment, it's not public who's playing what in the film. Although Variety does report that Eric Lively will play the husband of the daughter.

But when we know more, so will you, as the film continues to fill its cast.

Lionsgate will release it on December 13, so it should start shooting in the next 1 to 3 months.

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14 Comments

  • bill | January 15, 2013 5:23 PMReply

    Jasmin....run! You can't save them! It's too late for them, but preach on. Hopefully a young filmmaker will hear.

  • jasmin | January 15, 2013 3:19 PMReply

    CareyCarey...straight from Georgia eh? I know what does Georgia have to do with it. My sad mother even went to see his coonery buffoonery plays. He elevated the game eh? Where are his oscars and golden globes. Even movies like 'precious' won awards but not Tyler. And in every TP movie some black brotha is manhandling a woman. That's upping the game huh? A 6 foot five brother wearing a dress, that's upping the game? Remember the end of school daze or did you see that? Wakeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Upppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp!

  • CareyCarey | January 15, 2013 4:53 PM

    Jasmin, I'm not going to talk about your momma b/c I sure she's a good ol'soul who watched over you even though you -- apparently -- refused to grow. So why bring her into this mix? But tell me, what are you implying by saying "EVEN" movies like 'precious'? If you didn't know or haven't accepted it, Precious was an outstanding film in so many ways. The acting was superb and the messages were clear, so what are you talking about? Anyway, if awards (in your thinking) is the defining factor in a movie's success, I am here to tell you that less than one percent of ALL movies are well below the curve. So again, what the heck are you talking about? Yep, call it coonery or buffooney, but your definition does not change the facts. Tyler is the man and his success speaks for itself. And please, are you sure about this-->" in every TP movie some black brotha is manhandling a woman"? Really?! I think you're talking nonsense. There's no way in hell you can support that "opinion" with facts. Sooooooo... back atcha... do you remember Smokey's (Chris Tucker) line in Friday? You know, when Craig ( Ice Cube) knocked out Deebo on the front lawn? It's you Jasmin, it's you, it's you oh lord, standing in the need of prayer. Tag, you're it... YOU JUST GOT KNOCK THE F'K OUT! Waaaaaaaaaake Uppppppppppppppppp and ask somebody where you went wrong :-)

  • Marie | January 15, 2013 10:26 AMReply

    I'm amused that Perry appears to be making a big effort to get a whiter audience but not making nearly the same effort to improve the QUALITY of his work. I think it's safe to say that the only reason for his success is because he was doing what no one else wanted to do, making movies featuring black people, specifically black women. Black people flocked to his low-quality plays and movies to see themselves, period. By eliminating the black element, all that will be left is mediocrity staring white people which is already a flooded market. I'm curious to see if he loses his black audience as a result of these changes.

  • CareyCarey | January 21, 2013 12:39 PM

    Marie, I couldn't sleep last night thinking about my reply to you. I wondered if I was fair and too cynical? Well, in my defense -- and if you didn't know it -- here at S&A I've always taken the time to defend Tyler Perry and those who appreciate his efforts. So I felt compelled to strike back when I felt they - which includes me - were being attacked. You, my dear, just happened to be in the road.

    So let me slow down and take a little more time to explain my position. First, as I said, I don't know why you go to the movies? For that matter, I don't know what any individual receives from doing so? Consequently, I believe it would be wrong for me to judge another person if their sensibilities, likes and dislikes didn't match mine.

    Listen, I am what I would define as a die hard movie freak. I'll watch most genres of films, yet take from each what they offer on an individual basis. But don't get me wrong, while watching a film, I can be the most critical SOB on this earth. However, I understand that as each moviegoer has his or hers' own reasoning and/or agenda for viewing a film, so goes filmmakers in their decisions to make said films. Therefore I don't burden myself with trying to discern the "significance" of a film, nor do I project my sensibilities upon others. Because if and when I do that, I am assuming waaaaay more than I can justify or prove, which could place me in the category of a fool, blind follower or a snob. And, although I've done foolish things in my life, I am not a full time fool, nor do I blindly follow those who present themselves as the primary authority or experts on films. I decide what's right for ME.

    Having said that, the debates on the purpose and significance of films will continue, yet in respect to Tyler Perry's films, the following is what I've received and understand about them.

    Well, you asked me to define how he elevated the game. I hope my reply answers your question. First... ELEVATE: To move (something) to a higher place or position from a lower one; lift.

    1.) Tyler Perry has employed more black A-line actors (and below) than any person on this earth (white or black). He elevated that bar.

    2.) Tyler Perry's brilliant use of the social network is a brand of marketing that was and still is unmatched by any black producer/filmmakers. He constantly fertilizes his target audience. He elevated that bar.

    3.) Tyler's body of work addresses the constraints, joy, love, hardships, pain and struggles of black relationships (i.e. husband & wife, father & son, mother & daughter, single mothers, etc) more than any producer/filmmaker in this world. He elevated that bar.

    4) Throughout the existence of the black person in American, there has been a source of controversy, hope, enlightenment and knowledge that sustained them in trying times. Although it remains a controversial subject, religion has always played a vital role in the black man's journey and survival. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and and present day religious speakers have all used their voice to gather the attention of the black audience, forcing them to "THINK". Tyler Perry highlights that journey and thus continues the process of forcing us to think about our decisions and who we listen to, more than any other producer/filmmaker on this earth.

    5) Music has always been another excellent and proven source we've used to get us "through". Through a moment... through a day... through pain and divorce, music has a way of soothing our souls anf relieving us of emotion pain. In Tyler Perry's films, he has given us the most and best black singers, musicians and entertainers in the world, than any filmmaker past or present. He elevated THAT bar.

    6) Tyler Perry has donated more of his profits from the films he produced, than any black (or white) filmmaker on this earth, past or present. That bar is pretty high.

    In short Marie, you say to-may-toe and I say to-mah-to. Although you may not enjoy Tyler's works nor define them as "quality" films, it goes without question that he has elevated the entire game to a level that far exceeds his closest peers. To that point, even though some poo-poo his works, I believe, considering his whole body of work, that he is the preeminent voice of black consciousness. And I like that in him. I'll take the good and leave the rest behind.

  • CareyCarey | January 20, 2013 8:13 PM

    Yes Marie, we definitely are using a different standards of quality. Maybe that's why I implied that you may be what I consider as a black snob. I mean, when you separate yourself by referring to others as "desperate" and [they'll] watch anything that shows us regardless of the quality. I mean, you don't watch that low-brow stuff, do you? Surely, with your admitted high standards, you wouldn't be caught dead with "those folks", would you? Heck, you're lucky I didn't call you a pretentious black snob. But I'd be wrong for that wouldn't I?

    But listen, I do not know why you go to the movies or what you look for in the film you choose, but if the largest majority of black folks enjoy Tyler's films, those films have enough quality to entertain them and you might just be a snob in denial.

    And look, I am not trying to sway your opinion b/c it appears you're entrenched in your opini0n and the three most difficult things for humans to say are 1. I was wrong 2) I don't know. 3) I am sorry. So Marie, do your thang. But believe me, if you can't understand how Tyler elevated the black movie game, you're either constitutionally incapable of being honest to others and yourself, or you're not looking in the right place.

    Btw, when I used the term "the black man's journey" I mistakenly thought most people would accept that as a general term meaning all black people. But wait, you still spoke too soon. If what you say is true, and Tyler films focus on the female experience, and those females are interacting with black men, aren't they -- those black men (grandfathers, fathers, brothers, babies daddies, sons, husbands, uncles, co-workers, neighbors, etc) -- part of that journey?

    So Marie, you may be mistaken about a few things. I mean, you own your film school 101 definition of "quality" and if that works for you, cool. But don't get mad a me when you're sitting at home bored and lonely with your lips poked out. Don't call my name when you can't find a quality film that's well-told and crafted, acted by people who create a 3-dimensional character and is shot with some sense of film composition. But see you at the movies

  • Marie | January 20, 2013 6:56 PM

    @CareyCarey: We have different definitions of quality. I don't think a film is "quality" solely because people are entertained and relate to it. People were entertained by and related to "Jackass." Do you consider that to be a quality film? I thought a quality film had a good story well-told and crafted, acted by people who create a 3-dimensional character and is shot with a some sense of film composition. Few of these elements are evident in most of Perry's movies. "He elevated the game by allowing us to laugh at our character flaws, while at the same time giving us messages, music, laughter, pain and joy and that's dear to the black man's journey." It what way did, exactly, did he "elevate the game?" That's your fantasy that has zero evidence to support it. And I'm not sure what film(s) you're referencing when you mention the "black man's journey." With the exception of Daddy's Little Girls, all of Perry's films focus on the female experience, not the male, so your point makes no sense. Perry being HNIC for black cinema, if that's true, only tells me how far we have to go to get genuine black writing and directing talent out into the mainstream. Perry's success is from tapping into an ignored market. Period. We black folks know damn well that since we're so desperate to see ourselves that we'll watch ANYTHING that shows us regardless of the quality. When I start seeing Perry's films getting positive reviews and nominated for any of the industry awards--of which there are many--then I'll acknowledge that his work has quality. Otherwise, I'm confident in my opinion that his tv shows and movies are low quality. Your pathetic attack of my higher standards as being a "black snob" will not sway me from that opinion.

  • CareyCarey | January 15, 2013 12:04 PM

    Wrong! Perry's success is based on the quality of his work. That includes giving the audience something that entertains them and that which they could relate to. Granted, he did give us gorgeous beautiful black faces, but many films have given us that. He elevated the game by allowing us to laugh at our character flaws, while at the same time giving us messages, music, laughter, pain and joy and that's dear to the black man's journey. Btw, who said he's eliminating the black element? How is he doing that and what exactly is that? Anyway, the "quality" of a movie will always be in the eyes of the beholder. Mr. Perry is the HNIC of black cinema, so what does that tell you? Well, as Stevie Wonder said, "A boy is born in hard time Mississippi. Surrounded by four walls that ain't so pretty. His parents give him love and affection to keep him strong moving in the right direction. Living just enough, just enough for the city...ee ha!" Tyler Perry has proven that his "quality" is good enough for any city. Yet, some black snobs will never be satisfied.

  • JEFTCG | January 14, 2013 8:04 PMReply

    TP should go on ahead and make the Madea we all want to see: "Madea Gets A Man." Think of all those hunky young men that she can cast as her love interest! RRROOWWWRRRR!!

  • MissWildfire | January 14, 2013 4:37 PMReply

    I don't think Tyler Perry should do any Madea films for a long time after this. I liked her in the first couple films, but I can't pretend I wanted to see her in the last two she was in or this one either now that I'm seeing the casting. I'm starting to agree with his critics a bit, he has to step his game up. These movies that he takes from his plays are too repititive for words.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | January 14, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    Quiet as it may be kept some of these white actors are trying to tap in into the black viewership as well. The playing field has gotten very tight and alot of these white actors can't find work either and they are having to go to straight to DVD and television. Look at Kevin Bacon, hollywood has shut the door across the board. I hear Colin Ferrell is even being asked to do TV after his last couple of films have flopped, he's rumored to not be happy about it. But that's the reality of the business these days.

  • my2cents | January 14, 2013 3:54 PM

    Plenty of name movie stars have moved to TV with great results where the quality of the material can be just as good if not better the feature work. Steve Buscemi. Clare Danes. Taraji P. Henson. Laura Linney. Being on TV is not exactly in the Hollywood doghouse. Kevin Bacon is the star of Fox's hyped new drama The Following, premiering soon.

  • Akimbo | January 14, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    I see what you're getting at but the only name on this list I actually care about, Kathy Najimy is pale, but not white; she's Lebanese.

  • Donella | January 14, 2013 11:37 AMReply

    I enjoyed A Madea Christmas the stageplay. Saw it on DVD. Also enjoyed The Marriage Counselor stageplay on DVD. But the latest casting trend for the movies is losing me. I tried twice to watch Madea's Witness Protection and couldn't make it to the halfway point before giving up. It was just too weak and lame to finish. Madea surrounded by a sea of vanilla isn't enough to carry a story. A Haunted House, however, very sharp writing, funny throughout, and steady jokes that hit throughout. Perry should tighten up the writing, I think, and cast reliable players.

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