If you thought that you would never see Madea again, she is back and better than ever. Tyler Perry’s gun-toting, police-dodging, Cadillac Deville driving matriarch is making her highly-anticipated return in A Madea Homecoming on Netflix.
Adapted from Perry's stage play Madea's Farewell Play, the film follows Madea planning her great-grandson's college graduation party. As she prepares to welcome her eclectic family who all have come from out of town to celebrate the special occasion, family secrets reveal old wounds, and of course, spark a bunch of laughs.
Alongside Perry, the film stars David Mann, Tamela Mann, Cassi Davis-Patton, Gabrielle Dennis, and Brendan O'Carroll.
Since her debut in Diary of Black Woman in 2005, the Madea franchise has grossed over $500 million at the box office making Perry one of the most successful moguls in the film industry. With Madea’s latest adventure, Perry is showing the world that Madea has more stories to tell.
EBONY caught up with Perry and spoke to him about bringing Madea back to life, the importance of comedy during serious times and what inspires him to keep creating.
EBONY: After all of the success of Madea from the hit stage plays to blockbuster films, why did you ever think that your fans would allow you to retire their beloved character?
Tyler Perry:At this point, I wasn't even worried about what everybody else was thinking because I'm tired of this old broad. But I tell you, with looking at the state of the world, and me wanting to laugh and wanting people to laugh with me, I said, “Okay, I got to do something different.” And that's why she's back.
Throughout your films, you often tackle issues, through a comedic lens, what Black families are facing as well as what’s happening in the world. Why is that such an important component of your work?
Well, that's always been my deal. For me, I wanted to raise the questions because what's happening right now is nobody's talking. This person's arguing and that person is arguing and nobody's coming to sit down at the table to have the conversation. So it's my hope that we would all just come and sit down, try to figure it out by listening to each other. I wanted to bring some things to light and I really wanted us to have a good laugh. But also, let's start talking about these things. For sure.
If you could only choose one, would you rather play Madea live on stage or in films?
Oh, hands down I would choose live stage plays. If I had the time to do it, I would play Madea live all the time in front of a live audience. That's where I'd be.
I would imagine you prefer the live stage plays because of the interaction you receive from the audience?
It's also the immediate give and take of the audience. If they like something, they’ll let you know; if they don't like it, they let you know right away. So I love that immediate give and take. You don't necessarily get that with film and television because you have to wait for people to see it. Then you've got reviewers who come in and say things about it, but you don't know what the audience thinks until they've seen it. So it's the give and take that I like.
Lastly, with this being the 12th film in the Madea cinematic universe, what do you hope that viewers will take away from the movie?
With the pandemic and the social unrest that happening in the world, I just want people to laugh. If I get people all around the world laughing and having a good time watching this film, then I've done my job. That’s exactly what I wanted to do. I think I've done it.