Tyler Perry has become a Hollywood mogul by doing things his way. After the film industry ignored black talent for years, Perry proved that movies starring all-black casts could still generate a lot of money.
But Perry has decided to step away from his own movie franchises to take on a role that could redefine his career.
As the lead in James Patterson’s new movie Cross, Perry will take on his first action role. He recently spoke with rolling out about facing the challenge.

Why were you initially intrigued by the script, Cross?
You have James Patterson, Rob Cohen, who directed the Fast & Furious, and Alex Cross.  When James Patterson describes the character Alex Cross, he’s describing me. So when I read it, I thought it was a great opportunity to not only do something different, but to show a complete arc of this guy who does everything in this film.  It shows the total range of emotions from being the soft-spoken family man to being an enraged lunatic trying to avenge a death.

We are you used to seeing you in comedy or dramatic comedy. How did you get to such a sark place with the Alex Corss character?
I think we all have that dark place in us.  I don’t think it’s necessarily losing who I am, it’s just people have a perception of who you are and what you do.  Doing a role like this shows people that I don’t fit into what you think and that I can do a few other things.  I’m hoping the audience can open up and embrace just that.

Can you see yourself directing or producing crime dramas in the future?
Part of the reason I took this role is to learn.  My first movie “Diary of A Mad Black Woman,” I didn’t direct it because I didn’t know what I was doing.  In this sense, I wanted to fit under great people and see what I could learn.  I don’t see that happening anytime soon as I’d rather just be an actor in these kinds of movies because it takes a very specific director and eye to do action films.  I know where my lane is, but acting is something I really enjoy doing.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.