What Whoopi Goldberg wants, Whoopi Goldberg gets, including Tyler Perry—after an epic wait, that is.
Interviewed on Keeping it Reel, Tyler discusses how he finally came to write, produce and direct a big-screen version of Ntozake Shange‘s iconic 1975 stage play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
“It haunted me. It kept coming to me. About five, six years ago, somebody at William Morris asked me if I was interested in doing it, I said no,” the Hollywood powerhouse—whose films to date have grossed more than $400 million worldwide—tells host Tim Gordon.
“Then Whoopi Goldberg called me about four years ago and asked me if I wanted to do it on Broadway, and I said no. And I’m still not payin’ attention. They’re sayin’ For Colored Girls, and I didn’t know anything about it.
“And then somebody else called—these are all random people over a course of five or six years—so I finally said, ‘OK. Let me see what’s here,'” Tyler continues.
“And I quit four times. I committed to it, started writing and walked away from it four times. Because it was such a fight, such a struggle. But once I really began to understand what it was and what it meant to so many people, I surrendered to it.”
Retitled simply For Colored Girls, the film opens Nov. 5 and features an all-star cast, including Whoopi, Janet Jackson, Kerry Washington, Macy Gray and Phylicia Rashad.
Tyler also discusses the importance of his audience in bringing the project to fruition.
“They have stood with me from day one. Had they not been there, there would be no For Colored Girls. Because, if you noticed, there was a black hole—no pun intended—with black film. There’s just nothing going on,” he says.
“My audience has been incredibly loyal. And they’re still with me today. I just finished a tour and I saw things I couldn’t believe.
“Arenas packed to the rafters. It was unbelieveable. And they’re still with me.”
Click here to hear Tyler Perry’s full interview.
Click here to check out the For Colored Girls trailer.