With Madea's Witness Protection clocking in as Tyler Perry's 16th film/TV project featuring his alter-ego, Mabel Simmons, it's clear that the outspoken & larger-than-life character has struck a real chord with moviegoers around the globe. When asked to pinpoint the magic of his franchise, Perry tells ETonline the answer lies in the universality of his wise-cracking creation.
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"It doesn't matter what's your race or what culture, somebody knows this character somewhere," Perry explains. "I think the reason Madea's been so successful is just because everybody knows this grandmother… It has allowed me to be able to do these roles, these movies, over and over again and I'm just grateful."
After donning Madea's wig literally thousands of times on stage, in film and television, Perry admits he's still in awe at the devotion of his fan base.
"The loyalty has just been beyond," he marvels. "The audience has been there from the very beginning when I was on stage in 1999 when this all started… I'm just very grateful for it."
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Perry's latest, Madea's Witness Protection, finds the colorful grandma in the company of Eugene Levy, Denise Richards and Doris Roberts. The threesome plays a family forced to undergo witness protection and relocate down south under Madea's roof.
Romeo Miller also stars in the film, out July 29.