Working on his first movie with Netflix, filmmaker Tyler Perry said he was impressed by the diversity at the company. “I felt so welcome and so at home,” he told “CBS This Morning,” explaining why he chose to work with Netflix rather than releasing it through his own studio.
The film, “A Fall From Grace,” stars veteran actress Crystal R. Fox as a woman indicted for murdering her husband, and is set to be released on January 17.
“One of the things that I loved about it is I walked into the room to have my first meeting with them, and I’ve never seen that kind of diversity in Hollywood sitting around the table. Women, every race, every sex, all represented around the table,” Perry said. “Big ups to Netflix just for the diversity I saw when I walked in that room.”
Perry’s praise for Netflix does not extend to the Academy Awards committee, which triggered the resurgence of #Oscarssowhite with this year’s nominations.
“I think that Jennifer Lopez should have been recognized. I think that Awkwafina should have been recognized, absolutely. But I don’t have an opinion of it either way. As I said before, build your own table so you don’t have to keep asking people to sit at theirs. I think that the Academy has tried to invite more people of color into the voting process,” Perry said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Build his own table he did. With his production studio, Perry is able to hire people like Fox, who he says has been in the industry for 40 years without a leading role. “Oh, she is extremely talented and hadn’t had that chance. This woman can act in scenes with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and Meryl Streep, she is that good,” Perry said.
He acknowledged that fewer opportunities for people of color has played a big part in that.
“I think that in the industry, as things are changing, they’re changing very slowly, but I think it’s going to take more people like me who are taking the bull by the horns, entrepreneurs, setting up their own shops to be able to give more opportunities to people like this who deserve it,” he said.
One of the benefits of setting up his own shop is not adhering to traditional methods of filming. He described his unusual methods.
“Nighttime drama takes six to seven days to shoot, we shoot one in a day and a half. So, and I sit down and I write it, we shoot it,” Perry said. “I didn’t learn in the system of Hollywood, so I don’t know how to do it that way. I only know how the way I learned to do it.”
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King asked Perry what it was like directing himself in a movie, something the experienced filmmaker is known for. “I just want to connect with the other actors,” he said. “If they believe me, then I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.”
As for his future collaborations with Netflix, Perry left the door wide open. “Well you know I have BET Plus, which is my own streaming service I’m a part owner in. So I love working with Netflix. We’ll see what happens going forward,” he said.
“A Fall From Grace” comes to Netflix on Friday, January 17.