Tyler Perry’s more than 40 films; his past and present deals with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN and Viacom, respectively; and his relatively new 330-acre Atlanta filming complex, which made him the first African American to fully own a major film production studio, more than prove his power as an entertainment mogul.
Yet, for those who have worked with the multi-hyphenate on his ever-expanding media empire, his latest release, the dark Netflix thriller A Fall From Grace, is an illustration of not just how the writer, producer, director and actor has mastered his style. It’s evidence that still has more places creatively to take himself and his audiences.
For Perry, A Fall from Grace was familiar narrative territory that he wanted to “take up a little bit,” while still adhering to his signature production methodology. “We have a shorthand,” Perry said before the screening of his new film. “While it takes people in Hollywood seven days to shoot one episode of a primetime drama, we shoot two in six to seven days. I just have a crew that does the impossible every day. They work closely with me, and we pull it all off, so it’s really amazing.”
Matthew Law — who plays Jordan Bryant, a police officer and husband to Bresha Webb’s leading character Jasmine Bryant — says the experience was intensive, but it was also a privilege. The actor appreciated being able to work with Perry on a film he said the writer-director was “clearly passionate about” and on a set where “every shade, and creed, and color and language” was represented. It’s something, Law noted, that is not typical of most Hollywood studio setups.
“The stereotype is that using a black built production is slow,” Law said. “That it’s secondary, that it’s subpar. And so to see this world-class production — not see because we know it already — but to be a part of it, it’s so rewarding.”In a genre that can lack diversity, A Fall From Grace features a heavily female black cast who not only lead its story but explore multiple facets of black women’s experiences, from their professional to their personal lives and across age and socioeconomic lines. It’s a depth only furthered by the film’s messages around abuse, trust and the inequities of the criminal justice system.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Tyler Perry Studios
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