Tyler Perry has never been a person to shy away from his past. Early in his Hollywood career, he struggled, and he’s told stories in the past about his tough home life growing up and being homeless when he was just started to kick off his career. Recently, Perry opened up about that time when he was just struggling to make a start and the idea that he’s kept with him for 26 years ahead of the release of his new Netflix film A Jazzman’s Blues, one of Tyler Perry's most personal upcoming movies.
In a lengthy and inspiration post, Tyler Perry talks about the visions he had for the Netflix film -- which he affectionately refers to as Jazzman-- before he was famous. His lofty ideas included roping in Will Smith and Halle Berry -- who have aged out of eligible roles at this point. But he says the end project for his upcoming movie is everything that he envisioned and more:
About 26 years ago, I was struggling and not sure if I would be able to break into the entertainment business. I had managed to sneak into (cause I was broke) a play called Seven Guitars, and I got a chance to speak with the great August Wilson at an after party. I didn’t know how he would receive me because the kind of plays I was doing weren't Broadway, but he was so kind, encouraging, and inspiring that I went home and wrote my very first screenplay. I called it A Jazzman’s Blues. I imagined playing a role along with Will Smith, Halle Berry, Sir Ben Kingsley, Cicely Tyson and Diana Ross, with Debbie Allen doing the choreography. Well, after waiting 26 years and realizing that we’ve all aged out of the characters (since they range from 17 to 45) I had to find new talent. And the cast I found is exceptional. The performances they put down gave me chills in every scene (but more about them soon). And I did manage to get Debbie Allen, who was phenomenal. These dance numbers are incredible! Anyway, last night we shot the final scene of Jazzman, and I must say, I have never been happier filming anything in my life.
It was Oprah Winfrey who really gave Tyler Perry his break in Hollywood. The two mogul producers have continued being friends over the years as Perry has become a bigger name and an even bigger humanitarian in the industry, though Perry also credits his fanbase along for helping him get to where he is today: the proud owner and manger of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta and the head honcho on myriad TV and film projects each year. As he says, “this dream” he kept with him as he was struggling has finally been realized.
This dream has finally been realized. Thank you to my audience who has always been there for me. Thank you to my cast and crew, and a very special thanks to Netflixfor giving me every tool I needed to make this film be all that I ever hoped it could be. I can’t wait for you all to see it. Yes, it took 26 years, but it was so worth the wait. Please don’t give up on your dreams no matter how long they take.
A Jazzman’s Blues was directed and written by Tyler Perry and just wrapped production. The flick stars Ryan Eggold, Amirah Vann, Joshua Boone, Solea Pfeiffer, Brent Antonello, Milauna Jemai Jackson, and Brad Benedict. The story itself is an investigation into an unsolved mystery from 40 years prior and should be a good follow-up to Perry’s A Fall From Grace. It also sounds like the type of juicy content Netflix loves.
In fact, you can see a look from the set from Tyler Perry’s full Instagram post, below.
Tyler Perry's A Jazzman's Blues is actually the first screenplay he ever penned (he now routinely writes his own projects). It's also his second major movie collaboration with Netflix following A Fall From Grace, which came out to strong viewership numbers in January of 2020. The new movie will not mark the last time Perry will work with Netflix, either, as the longtime producer will also be bringing back Madea for a new project, despite the last major film in the franchise having previously been touted as the end for Madea. We'll be sure to keep you updated if more Perry projects break on the streamer and you can see what's coming soon with our Netflix schedule.