Tyler Perry on actors who turned down roles in his new film: ‘Too bad, so sad’

September 26, 2019 Atlanta - Portrait of Tyler Perry in Tyler Perry Studios on Thursday, September 26, 2019. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

It may come as a surprise for many, but the media mogul still has actors turning down movie roles in his projects.

It’s a film Perry started writing more than two decades ago – “A Jazzman’s Blues.” Perry started writing it back when he was struggling to get his first play picked up. Perry admits getting the motivation to write the play when he met playwriter, August Wilson, after sneaking into one of Wilson’s plays. “I was telling him that I had all these stories that I wanted to tell, and he was very, very encouraging about me writing what I wanted to write,” Perry said. “I went home that night and started writing ‘A Jazzman’s Blues.’”

After all these years and much success, Perry has turned that inspiring night into a Netflix premiere. While Perry has made many strides to become an entertainment giant, there are still hurdles he faces in the industry. “Unfortunately, with this film, I went to a bunch of up-and-coming young artists who were getting a lot of attention and I asked them about doing the role,” Perry said. “They read the script, they loved the script, but I think there was a reservation or hesitation about working with me in particular on this film because I guess they didn’t know how it would turn out.”

Perry went on to say “too bad, so sad for them,” and that the actors he ended up casting, including Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer, exceeded his expectations. “A lot of times these teams don’t necessarily understand the power of my audience and what I bring,” Perry added. “The people who are in [A Jazzman’s Blues] made it exactly what it was supposed to be. It’s better than I ever thought it would be, but it’s always been very important to me to break new faces. And that has opened the door for me to be able to help so many people.”

So, what’s the movie all about? “Set in the 1940s deep South, actors Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer play star-crossed lovers, Bayou and Leanne, whose forbidden love is the backdrop for decades of secrets and lies being uncovered.”

“A Jazzman’s Blues” is set to hit Netflix on Sept. 23.

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