Tyler Perry to carry “Cross” for franchise reboot

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Now this is interesting. Tyler Perry has played characters outside of his immensely popular Madea movies, most notably a small supporting role in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” reboot. But we’re hearing now that Perry’s prepared to step into his first major starring role in what’s potentially going to be a major franchise (if things go well).

Perry is going to play iconic detective Alex Cross, pulled from the best-selling novels by author James Patterson, in a planned franchise reboot, according to Deadline. Last we heard, the fantastic Idris Elba (of “The Wire,” to name but a few) was going to play Cross in Rob Cohen’s take on “I, Alex Cross,” but plans changed in recent weeks, and now Perry’s lined up for the lead.

The next step for the project will be finding a distributor. Back when Morgan Freeman played Cross in two film adaptations in the 1990s, Paramount held the franchise rights. Deadline speculates that Lionsgate may step in because Perry “has consistently turned in winners for the minimajor, which collects a distribution fee on pictures that Perry owns.”

And it will be interesting to see if Perry’s audience follows the talent to a different franchise, and one where he isn’t writing or directing. In truth, I would’ve loved to see Elba play the brilliant and rugged D.C. detective. He just seemed born to play the part. But Perry’s an interesting choice, so we’ll see how this shakes out.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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