Tyler Perry’s latest film ‘A Jazzman’s Blues’ is being lauded as his best film to date and he agrees.
The veteran director told HipHollywood exclusively that he enjoyed making this film more than anything else he’s done in his 22 year career because it didn’t feel like work.
“This is my first time enjoying it,” said Perry. “Every time I’ve ever had to direct anything, it was the work. It’s just the work. This I enjoyed making every shot a picture, a photograph. It was really something I enjoyed.”
The script he says he wrote 27 years ago, well before he becoming a multi-hyphenate media mogul built largely on his Madea-led film franchise and spinoff sitcoms.
Jazzman finds Perry diverting from his usual formula with a Jim Crow-era musical-romance-tragedy that prompts one to wonder if he’s hoping for Oscar recognition.
“I don’t want anything because I’m black. I want it because I deserved it,” said Perry regarding a possible Oscar nomination for the film. “If that happens, then great. But for Joshua [Boone] and Solea [Pfeiffer] and the cast, for them to be recognized, that would mean the world to me, for sure.”
For Jazzman, Perry assembled a cast of familiar and fresh faces including Amirah Vann, Ryan Eggold, E. Roger Mitchell, Austin Scott, Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer.
The latter two play Bayou and Leanne, respectively, starry-eyed teenagers who embark on a forbidden love affair int he small town of Hopewell, GA.
“I love that Tyler ventured out to get a bunch of people who have been working hard because, listen, as an actor, I’m not going to say they’re new, says Vann who plays Bayou’s mother Hattie Mae. “Everyone always thinks people are new and they’ve been working very hard. They come from the theater world and been putting in that work. So I’m excited, too, that they get a bigger screen to be able to be shared with the world.”
“They’re going to fall in love with Joshua,” she added with a huge smile. “Get ready because those dimples.”
The film is also a personal one for Perry, who says he experienced colorism in his own household.
“Spending time in Royal, Louisiana with my grandmother, I knew these people. I knew the spirit of this thing,” he explained. “So, yes, I have a father who despised me for many reasons, but one, because I was darker skinned than my sister. So, yeah, colorism has to be addressed. And we talked about it in jazz, man. To a point.”
“I think outside of the black community, a lot of people don’t understand the nuances of colorism and how deeply rooted it is.”
“The idea that there are people out here who are using whiteness as a way and a means towards a better life. Even though it is not true to them, it really is complicated. It’s deep, it’s hard, and it’s this kind of unwritten history. So learning about that was huge for me and I’m very excited that it’ll be a part of the canon.”
Now with Jazzman set to release on Netflix (Sept 23) Perry says he feels secure to take more risks and has other projects coming soon that may surprise people.
“I think that once people give you your hat, that’s all that you can wear. They don’t want to see you do anything else or don’t think you can do anything else. But I was very clear about a business that I had to build, getting to the studio, securing my foundation, making sure that I was in a place where if I put Jazzman out and for, God forbid, it didn’t work, then I would have an opportunity to go on and do more movies. So I stuck with what worked until I got to a place where I was secure enough to do Jazzman and some other things that I’m going to do that I think people are going to be surprised.”