Tyler Perry’s movies have been hits at the box office for the past several years, but apparently they have not been a hit with one of Tyler’s childhood idols, Diana Ross.
Tyler would love to work on a film project with Ms. Ross, but she seems to be ducking his phone calls.
“She’s been ignoring me for years,” Tyler told Essence in an interview. “She’s the only person that I have dreamed of working with that will not return my phone calls.”
Diana did speak with Tyler once, but the outcome wasn’t what he hoped for.
“That was it, she never called me again,” he said. “She said, ‘No!’ And that was it.”
Diana won’t work with Tyler because his work is too lowbrow, according to insiders.
“Diana feels Tyler’s movies, TV shows and especially his main character ‘Madea’ have no substance,” an insider told The National Enquirer.
“Diana is all about her entertainment legacy,” the insider said. “The last thing she wants is to co-star in a cheesy comedy starring a Black man in a fat suit playing a half-cocked, angry old woman waving a gun.”
Of course, Tyler is no stranger to criticism. The filmmaker told S2S Publisher Jamie Foster Brown, in the March 2012 issue, that defending himself against his African-American detractors has been difficult.
"I can tell you this, Jamie: If Black people knew how hard I had to fight to get anything done, I promise you that they would all be giving me an award rather than giving me hell," he said.
Upon hearing the rumor that Diana refused to work with Tyler, Jamie said, "That’s a shame. His films have great morals to the story. He teaches.”
Jamie is not Tyler’s only supporter, the director was able to get two of his other childhood idols, Marla Gibbs and John Amos, into his latest flick, Madea’s Witness Protection.
“To be around Florence from ‘The Jeffersons’ and James from ‘Good Times’…to stand in the presence of the people that I’ve admired is amazing,” Tyler said.
Tyler was also in the presence of another admirable person who helped him with a drinking problem that he was developing after his mother became ill.
"When she got sick in 2009, I started drinking every night because I couldn’t sleep; every night up to a couple of months ago," he said. "I never had a problem but I certainly was on way to having one.
A visit from President Barack Obama helped him turn things around for the filmmaker. It was President Obama’s visit to my studio; I don’t know what happened there, but when he came everything became clear," he said. "I just came out of a haze. It was like, ‘Wake up, kid. You know life is still going on.’ I swear the day after he left was the day I just said I am going to go to sleep without it."
If Diana does have a problem with Tyler, she wouldn’t be the first. See comments from Spike Lee, Cornel West and more below.
Photos: The Madea Debate