The bulk of Tyler Perry's film career has been focused on making an audience laugh, but in his new film Alex Cross, Perry switches the focus to keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. As his co-stars teased at the Los Angeles premiere, his dramatic role will surprise moviegoers.
"I think he really dug deep to prove a lot of people wrong," said Matthew Fox, who portrays the film's villain. "He certainly has a huge fan base coming from a comedy background, so this is a different thing for him and I think he's going to surprise a lot of people."
Perry plays the film's protagonist, "Alex Cross," a doctor and police detective who pursues Fox's character, a ruthless serial killer. Perry's character, which is drawn from a popular book series, has previously been played by Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.
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"He can be very funny and he can be very dramatic," said the book series' author James Patterson. "People are going to love Tyler...He's a lot closer to the character in the books 'cause he's athletic, he's [physically] big, he has more of a street cop look, and he can have a family 'cause he's a younger guy."
One of Perry's comedy cohorts, Tyler Perry's For Better or Worse's Michael Jai White, admitted that it took him a brief moment to process the concept of Perry as a dramatic actor, but everything made sense once he was able to do so.
"The first time I saw it, he showed me a trailer on set and I was blown away," he said. "I had no idea he was doing it, so it was kind of a shock, but it just took the time of [watching] the trailer to settle me into it...Tyler's a very smart man [and] he's a very great actor, so it just made sense to me."
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Director Rob Cohen, who is known for engaging action films like the The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and the original The Fast and the Furious, had high praises for Perry and his fulfillment of the dramatic role.
"You can expect a very pleasant surprise. He's an incredibly talented man, which I knew in casting him," Cohen said. "[I was pleased by] the depth of his performance, the passion that he brought to it, [and] the chops that he has...He did everything. He's fantastic."
Check out the video above to hear Perry's thoughts on the dramatic role and if roles like this will become a trend for him. Don't miss him on the big screen in Alex Cross, opening this Friday.