Tyler Perry continues to create opportunities for talent in front of and behind the camera, but the media mogul admits not everyone wants to work with him.
In a new interview with People magazine’s “Every Day” podcast, Perry revealed several actors turned down roles in his new period drama A Jazzman’s Blues.
“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.”
A Jazzman’s Blues is a departure from Perry’s comedies. The drama follows an investigation into an unsolved murder and unspools 40 years of secrets and lies set to juke joint blues in the deep South.
The 52-year-old filmmaker wrote the script back in 1995, before his Madea stage plays and movies became massive hits.
Perry said the actors and actresses he was initially considering for his new film have teams that discouraged their clients from working with him.
“A lot of times these teams don’t necessarily understand the power of my audience and what I bring. The people who are in [A Jazzman’s Blues] made it exactly what it was supposed to be,” Perry said. “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.”
The cast includes Solea Pfeiffer and Joshua Boone as star-crossed lovers, alongside Amirah Vann, Austin Scott, Milauna Jemai Jackson, Brent Antonello, Brad Benedict, Kario Marcel, Lana Young and Ryan Eggold.
Perry had a message for the actors who declined to work with him. “Too bad, so sad for them,” he said.
A Jazzman’s Blues will feature an original song performed by Ruth B., along with songs arranged and produced by multi-Grammy winner Terence Blanchard, music by Aaron Zigman and choreography by Debbie Allen.
The film begins streaming Sept. 23 on Netflix.