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How Tyler Got “For Colored Girls…”

6a00c22529945d8fdb00f48ceda05e0003-500piO.K., now that the shock that Ms. Perry will be directing the film version of For Colored Girls…, I have a good inside source of how it happened, which is a perfect example of how business is done in Hollywood. Here’s the deal…

Nzingha Stewart got the rights for the play from Ntozake Shange, then went to Liongsate for funding. The studio passed the buck and went to Perry to finance the film, since he’s their goose that lays the golden eggs. He in turn used his massive clout with the studio and told them he would back it only if he got the whole project, pushing Stewart out, to which Lionsgate agreed.

And that folks is how they do bizness in Hollywood…

38 comments to How Tyler Got “For Colored Girls…”

  • ladybug

    See this is why there is no progress. Money and clout win out every time! This is my problem with Perry, I have said it again and again . . . He’s got such a BIG EGO! He could support a young black FEMALE film maker but instead he pushed her out!

    @ Sergio-Was the “Ms. Perry” a slip? LOL!

  • grace

    What an ass. He could give two shits about the play — its all about him. Even Spielberg passes off projects he likes to others. Where will we be when art completely disappears from the black experience. And damn — Tyler couldn’t help a sister out? We’ll never get anywhere. Greedy fool.

  • pnc

    Tyler Perry built his empire by exploiting black women so squeezing one out of the process doesn’t seem surprising to me. His morals have been corrupted by success a long time ago, because if he actually thought about black folks having a real auteur-presence in Hollywood, he’d be searching for them. He’s not.

    @ladybug
    ‘young black FEMALE film maker” – I see ‘young’ in front of ‘filmmaker’ all the time. In all honesty, I have no idea why. I’m old and jaded. Old(ish)…not 21.

  • Hollywierd is not a place, it is a culture. Until folks realize this meager concept that the interest of Hiollywierd will never be anyones but Hollywierds, there will be no progress. After 100 years folks still expect them to do “the right thing.” They already do, the right thing for THEMSELVES.

  • Zeus

    Tyler Perry’s favorite sound is his own voice. The man has an incredible ego with the least amount of filmmaking talent I have ever seen. What a swell guy! Mr. Christian does it again!

  • NothingButAMan

    This is criminal. But at the same time, Nzinga should have had her contractual ducks in a row before getting with Lionsgate…

  • miss al boogie

    I agree Nothing But A Man. But even if she has ducks in a row TP has waaaaaay more money than she does and would win even “legally” in the end.

  • ArtsyHeartsy

    @Grace, Spielberg kept The Color Purple… Still I am disappointed in Perry’s choice to Bogart the whole project. Hoping he doesn’t destroy the beauty even as I doubt he can do it justice…

  • T. Whiner

    Enough already…all them Knee-grows been in Hollyweird all those years and they didn’t have the melons/cahones to start their own production company. Shame on ‘em. If they had parlayed 1-10% annual income in a money market fund over a 5 year period, the whole lot of ‘em would have had some capital to start something…but nooooooooooo! Serves ‘em all right, waiting for a handout. God Bless the Child…and as for TP…child please, as long as his closeted behind is making $ hand over fists degrading all of us, he won’t stop til the fat meat drops.

  • Ebony

    From a truly inside source, this is not the deal at all. There were ample opportunities given for Ms. Stewart to show and prove and she failed, thus opening the door for Mr. Perry to step in. Had she handled her business, this would not have happened.

    • Luvmylfe

      Ebony dear Ebony…did he fool you too with his “spirit” filled words??? Your facts are waay off I’ll match your source at any time…Stewart acquired the rights, wrote a script – which I read – and was so amazing she, with no feature film credits, was able to sign on a-list talent. After having rights, script & talent met w the studio who loved the piece then set up a mtg with Perry. It was then that Perry decided that he, and only he, would do this project – just after learning how HUGE this can be. Black on Black crime!

  • So, wait. Nzingha secured the rights. Now it’s a grenlit film. That will sorta make her a producer, no? Is she getting her money?

    This sounds like a typical deal, especially in this climate. Lionsgate needs to guarantee audience. “directed by Nzingha Stewart” does not do that. Lionsgate didn’t even have 100% faith in a film that’s had Oscar buzz since Sundance.

    I’m trying to see why we’re mad at Tyler over this and giving Lionsgate a pass. Michael said in a public statement that Nzingha was doing the picture. He changed that. It sounds like if Tyler was at another studio, this picture wasn’t going to ever be made.

    • “I’m trying to see why we’re mad at Tyler over this and giving Lionsgate a pass.”

      Here, here! While I can understand why people are mad at Perry, Lionsgate has clearly made an astute business decision in hard times – a decision that worked in Perry’s favour and pandered to his ego, but an astute decision on the part of Lionsgate, nonetheless.

      There’s very little, if any, altruism in big business.

      • Nice point: “I’m trying to see why we’re mad at Tyler over this and giving Lionsgate a pass.”

        Don’t these kind of deals happen all the time in Hollywood? It’s not a “black” or “white” thing, it’s a money thing. I remain hopeful about this project and it would be nice if the final cut turns out well.

  • sharon

    Plain and simple…life isn’t fair. Mr. Perry didn’t just wake up one day and become mega rich! He worked for his…many of you sound like my co-workers. When Mr. Perry tried to produce his first film, the major film studios tried to change his vision. Mr. Perry in turn took his film and made it himself on his limited buget.

    As a result, he built his empire and while he was at it, his own movie studio. As for exploiting black women, white america has been doing that for years. Stop hating!!

  • Wow, this is very disturbing if it’s true. Nzingha is in my book Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business. I can’t believe she’d hand over all that sweat equity and work without even a hint of a buyout or a lawsuit…I agree with Mr. Lockhart (wudup, D?!) I had a hard time believing Shange would sell the rights to TP and this is not that hard to believe. Now contrast this with Lee Daniels and Lisa Cortes’ Precious. THEY got their film made and acclaimed on their own and Perry had to attach his name to it as a presenter (not even producer)–because they already financed it, owned it and SHOT it (and he wanted to look good next to Oprah). All Black people don’t have to get muscled and hustled by dude. It’s certainly a lesson in making your intellectual property airtight. I want to hear more on this! I wish Nzingha the best!

  • rugglebyc

    None of us would be talking abut this film had Tyler Perry not bogarted the project. It would be, “I saw the PBS version with Alfre Woodard” or “I already saw the play.” Tyler Perry brings name value and $ backing and you know everyone on this forum will be seeing it in theaters so stop trippin. BTW I’ll see you there. Save me a seat – I’ll bring the popcorn!

  • Scooby

    Just because TP is black doesnt mean he has to be like Obama and give bailouts and share the wealth. When are ppl going to realize its not black or white its GREEN (rich or poor)!!!!!

  • If Angela Bassett decides not to do this film then I’m ready to boycott. She was invested in Nzhinga doing this project so I dont see her continuing with it. I have absolutely no hope that Tyler Perry will do this play any justice. If he produced it, ok. Directing, mmmm aight. Writing, HELL NO! He could completely ruin it with his one dimensional characters with no layers and no depth. What you see is what you get with his characters and I could cry thinking about how he could ruin this film. For Colored Girls is so important…I might just boycott even if Angela stars. I dont see Halle continuing with this either…

  • ladybug

    @Sharon & Rugglebyc-wake up look around, no one is hating! As a matter of fact most of the people commenting would cheer if Perry had done the right thing! We would cheer if he gave us a decent movie, but he hasn’t and that is why folks are up in arms! This project belonged to someone else it was reported that it has already been written! Now only a few months Tyler Perry has found the time to adapt For Colored Girls . . .If you have read the piece you’d no that this is no minor feat. For my part it should be left alone . . . It’s a theatrical piece, if the film is not experimental in nature then its not For Colored Girls. You’ll have to excuse me but Tyler Perry doesn’t really have a creative bone in his body. His characters have no “Truth” perhaps because Mr. Perry knows nothing about what he writes about . . . he’s neither a woman or . . . excuse me a straight man . . . which makes his following even more silly.
    As for his money . . . the most successful people in the entertainment industry are the Jews! You want success follow the model! Crabs in a barrel mentality they do not possess, which may be why they succeed. They support talent when they see it . . . Tyler Perry only supports Tyler Perry! The Wayans only support other Wayans! This gets you no where. You have to seek out talent! Mark my words Tyler Perry’s Ego will be his downfall.

  • AccidentalVisitor

    Sad and I have to admit a bit hilarious too. Sorry to put it like this but its mostly been the ticket-buying power of black women who have made Diva Tyler Perry into the theater and now movie phenom that he has become. I mean the man sure loves a story about suffering, black women (based on the crappy scripts he puts together) so “For Colored Girls” is naturally something he would be interested in. Unfortunately he is a hack and may not end up doing justice to the material. But, hey, the black community has created a monster by flocking to this guy’s works and now we have to deal with him.

    So is this bit of news essentially telling us that months ago when Lionsgate announced it was producing “For Colored Girls” it only had done so because Perry had agreed to take over the project?

  • Zeus

    @Sharon & Rugglebyc — Tyler Perry is a hack and people recognizing that FACT is not hating, it’s called understanding the elements that make a good film, then expecting those elements to be on screen. If YOU enjoy “soap operas on screen” type films, then by all means support Ms. Perry. That is your right.

    However, please don’t label folks who prefer their films to have, oh I don’t know: in depth characters, good writing, good cinematography, good audio, good set design, good performances and some type of story structure. THAT is our right. Just because Ms. Perry is black, does not mean he will get a pass when those elementary elements are void from all of his “films.”

  • ok calm down y’all. can anyone say willie lynch? who the hell is sergio? and why are we believing what he says? one of the few power brokers of color in Atlanta (not hollywood intentionally)gets a project that has been around forever greenlighted and we believe the first hack who tells us a horror story of how it happened. hollywood has been trying to break perry’s hold on the african american audience for a while now releases the story and we go wild. mr perry bulit his empire by creating work for us and us alone when it was not popular or profitable. whether we agree with his methodology he has not deserted his core in an attempt to gain “universal acceptance” or not did oprah ever try to get the rights? or will smith or denezel or halle barry? the money and the work has been out there for years, but they couldn’t even get the show back to broadway filled with singers instead of actors. something about the play had to move mr. perry in someway to convince him to put up the money to do the project. give him the opportunity to attempt the task before we condemn him as a race traitor and devil. if he does what you fear, vilify him. i’ll be right there with you but maybe just maybe he’ll pull it off. i’m old enough to remember amos & andy on it’s first pass.

  • I don’t have any interest in Tyler Perry, so I have not much to say about him. However, he knew where the money was at and got some black actors together and got his audience. He may be a hack, but I applaud him for seeing his opportunity and rolling with it.

  • Daryl

    First I would like to commend the quality of this discussion I haven’t seen such well reasoned back and forth on a blog’s comment section… ever.

    Second TP’s past cinematic sins are already unforgivable, and what looks to be him wielding a butcher knife and sticking it in Nzingha’s back feels… consistent. That said If indeed we have bad intelligence and there were no WMD’s, TP should have at the very least got another black female director, blythewood comes to mind, as do several women I know personally. IF ANY FILM should have been directed by a black woman it is this one (color purple a close second, beloved a far third)… I know what your thinking… we know he is a queen, his queenlyness does not qualify him for the position.

    Third TP has to know his role. He has to know that no amount of passion or good intention can surmount his lack of talent and experience. that said he has a mastered a popular formula and he has to recognize that for colored girls.. is so far outside that formula he is incapable of making it work. If he really believes that he can make ntozake’s ms. pat come alive on screen HE IS HAVING A CRISIS in self awareness, which I guess is the biggest side effect of having such an enflated jack o lantern sized (and shaped) head…

    fourth… this is all too reminiscent of the norman jewison fiasco http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104797/trivia but with a mysogynist twist. spike would have never wrestled X away from norman jewison and oliver stone had he been a woman.

  • Daryl

    @sharon… “white america” expoiting black woman for years, is not a justification for black men in power like TP to go on doing so. It is in face a call to action to protect the interests of black women at all turns. clearly tp has only his interest in mind.

  • Sergio

    “who the hell is sergio?”

    Boo hoo. He said something mean about me. For your information my source about the details of the project came from someone I’ve known for a long time who is extremely close to someone invloved with the project and who knew the details about it long before it was publicly announced that Perry was making the film.

    But then of course you wouldn’t believe me anyway. How can any black person know anything like that? We don’t know nuttin’

  • Daryl

    Told my sister about this and she said, “Why not george C. Wolfe…” and I said “WHY NOT? George C. Wolfe?” I mean if anyone understands the material it’s him. And his queendom qualifies him.

  • Red

    As a true inside source, I can vouch this is not true. Don’t believe the hype.

  • apoplectic

    My name reflects my feelings regarding Tyler Perry’s association with such a fine work as “For Colored Girls”…..for you TP fans, please see a Webster’s dictionary…as long as people continue to support coonery such as TP productions, quality black art will never be given it’s place or just due…
    No I will not be supporting this movie….

  • cedric

    the bottome line is …”BUSINESS IS BUSINESS!!!”
    you can’t fault TP for being a sound BUSINESS MAN! even if you don’t like his work (and, yes, i’m in that category), he’s done SOMETHING or SOMEONE right to be in the place where he can AFFORD to make these kind of BUSINESS decisions. and, everyone that’s typing from a moral high-horse- if put in the same position, you’d make the same BUSINESS decision.

  • Cyia

    Mister Perry (yes, I spelled it out real nice and proper-like) may not be the world’s greatest writer, but many black men as well as women have drawn great inspiration and humor from his work. I, for one, like Madea (although she can be a little–well, ok–a lot over the top sometimes. So don’t make the mistake of thinking only uneducated black folks enjoy his work. Some of you have laughed til you cried, especially over his early plays.

    Perry’s Madea is a throwback to Redd Foxx’s Fred Sanford of the 1970′s. However, I think Perry actually does a better job of balancing his characters against each other. With the exception of “Precious” and “For Colored Girls” (neither of which were his original concepts) he doesn’t do the oft seen black male bashing without attempting to counter the evil with another black male character who is as good.

    I’ve just finished watching “For Colored Girls,” and like “Precious” it is a heavy meal to digest. It reminded me quite a lot of the TV movie “The Women of Brewster Place.” It’s filled with tragedy, yet ends with hope. Some folks will like it, some will pan it. Some would pan it no matter how good it was. If Mister Perry was discouraged by every bashing critique, he wouldn’t be the second highest grossing man in Hollywood as he is today.

  • Maggie

    EVERYBODY’S A CRITIC. I loved the movie and I think TP did a great job keeping to the poetic ambiance of the original writing. I have read the poems, seen the broadway production, acted in a hometown production, and now this! It was wonderful!