Tyler Perry recently sat down with producer and Selma director Ava DuVernay for a one-on-one at the seventh annual Produced By conference in Los Angeles. They talked about his rise from a “chitlin circuit” playwright and actor to the Hollywood heavyweight he is today.
The film industry taught Perry many hard lessons, but he taught the industry one, as well. Specifically, don’t sleep on passion and talent. That’s exactly what Hollywood did to him the first time around. Film distribution company Lionsgate produced Perry’s first feature film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which was adapted from his hit stage play of the same name. The company expected the $5 million film–with the niche audience and a first-time director—to gross $20 million overall. It grossed $25 million opening weekend. “If you’re in a deal and you’re underestimated, that’s a really sweet position to be in,” Perry said. “Because you can change the whole game.”
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Click here for more of Perry’s come-up and boss moves.