The multitalented Tyler Perry speaks with Senior Digital Editor Brooke Obie about the enduring appeal of his Madea character and the role that faith plays in his career.
Brooke Obie: Thank you so much for sitting down with Guideposts today.
Tyler Perry: Oh, it's my pleasure.
BO: You have been doing this Madea character for about 20 years now and you're also about to do Colin Powell. You've been able to branch out in so many ways, but you keep coming back to Madea. What is it about this character that you keep coming back to?
TP: People just love it, and every time I think, 'OK, I'm done,' the box office goes through the roof. People are just loving the character. She's such a fun-loving character, and I think the country just needs something light that we can all laugh at and have a good time and not think about anything too heavy.
BO: Some people think that it's more difficult to be a person of faith and to also be in Hollywood, but you've been able to be very successful in Hollywood while also being a man of faith. What do you think are some of the things that help you to hold on to your faith while you're in this industry.
TP: You have to. I think it's drawn me closer to God because this industry is so crazy, there's so much madness in it. There's so much competition, there's so much fatigue inside of it that I need it to renew every day, need it to pray, need it for strength, need it to be lifited and encouraged every day, so I didn't know how I could do anything I do if I didn't believe.
BO: Considering some of the allegations that have come out about Harvey Weinstein and this industry, it has this reputation of being an unsafe place. And so do you think that, being a man of faith and also in a position of power, that there's any room for men of faith to lead a kind of cultural change in Hollywood?
TP: I would hope so. You know, I look at someone like DeVon Franklin, who is in this industry and just a bright, shining light and a beacon—very, very strong. I think if there were more people like him, we'd hear better stories than some of the ones that we're hearing these days.
BO: Yes, we love DeVon Franklin.
TP: DeVon's amazing, yeah.
BO: Are there any tips that you have for people of faith who are trying to expand in their careers, expand in their world?
TP: Don't compromise. Be sure and clear on what you want to do. Set your intention; nobody has to tell you how to breathe, so nobody should have to tell you to push to the next level, if that's what you want to do, so that's what I would say.
BO: Thanks so much; I really appreciate you.
TP: Thank you, an absolute pleasure.
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