Tyler Perry’s Next Film With Lionsgate, THE MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, Begins Production
All Star Cast Includes Jurnee Smollett, Lance Gross, Robbie Jones,
Vanessa Williams, Kim Kardashian, Brandy Norwood, Ella Joyce, and Jerry Stiller
SANTA MONICA, CA (November 2, 2011) – LIONSGATE, together with Tyler Perry, today announced the commencement of production of THE MARRIAGE COUNSELOR. The film, which is based on Perry’s beloved stage play of the same name, marks the prolific filmmaker and multi-media tycoon’s 13th feature film production with Lionsgate in seven years. The announcement was made by Perry and Joe Drake, Lionsgate’s co-COO and Motion Picture Group President.
The film is currently shooting inAtlanta,Georgia, at the filmmaker’s own 200,000 square foot studio compound Tyler Perry Studios. Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate’s President of Motion Picture Development and Production, will oversee the project on behalf of the studio. Ozzie Areu, President of Tyler Perry Studios, and Paul C. Hall are producing the film.
Jurnee Smollett (“Friday Night Lights”, EVE’S BAYOU, THE GREAT DEBATERS) plays the central character in the film. Her character is caught between Lance Gross (MEET THE BROWN’S, OUR FAMILY WEDDING, “House Of Payne”) and Robbie Jones (HURRICAINE SEASON, “One Tree Hill”). Smollett’s Judith is an Ivy League educated relationship expert who gives marital advice for a living, yet can’t seem to follow that advice in her own marriage to Bryce (Gross). Bored with her life, she breaks her professional code and begins an affair with a smooth talking client (Jones). After the initial excitement of their torrid relationship wears off, Judith realizes that she’s made a grave mistake. It will take every ounce of courage and forgiveness for Judith to escape the dangerous situation she finds herself in.
Rounding out the cast are Vanessa Williams (SOUL FOOD, “Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives”) in the role of Janice, the owner of the firm where Judith practices, and Kim Kardashian as Ava, Judith’s sassy co-worker. Accomplished singer and actress Brandy Norwood, better known to some as simply Brandy, will play Melinda, Bryce’s co-worker, whose personal life ends up intersecting with Judith’s in an unexpected twist. Ella Joyce will play Sarah in the film, with Jerry Stiller (“Seinfeld,” “The King Of Queens”) also slated to make an appearance.
The film is being produced under Perry’s recently extended multi-year first look partnership with Lionsgate. Perry’s 11 theatrical releases for Lionsgate in the past six years have grossed more than $572 million at the North American box office alone, and his films, stage plays and DVD’s are also distributed by the company. Perry also produces two hit television shows, “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and its spinoff, “Meet The Browns,” which are distributed by Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury and continue to establish new standards of distribution and syndication success. His third television show, “For Better or Worse” debuts on TBS in November.
“I have a great relationship with Lionsgate and am proud to be making my thirteenth film with them. I always appreciate the artistic freedom they afford me, but will particularly appreciate it on this project, which explores family life even more up close and personally than I ever have before and speaks about so many universal issues and challenges that are dear to my own heart,” said Perry of the project, adding “I also couldn’t be more excited to be working with some fantastic actresses and some fellow multi-hyphenates for the first time on this project. I know that we are going to have the time of our lives making this film together.”
“This film is another wonderful outgrowth of our longstanding relationship withTyler. Tyleris on an exciting trajectory across his expanding array of platforms, and his filmmaking is no exception,” said Drake. “With GOOD DEEDS and now THE MARRIAGE COUNSELOR, he is exploring issues that affect so many people, like balancing career and family, freedom and responsibility, and passion and duty- all while maintaining his signature style and his singular voice. He’s assembled an amazing cast, and we can’t wait to see what they create together.”
Perry is represented by WME and attorney Matt Johnson from Ziffren Brittenham, with Kardashian also represented by WME, and Gross by WME and managers at The Schiff Co. Smollett is represented by ICM, with Jones represented by The Gersh Agency, Williams by UTA and Geordie Frey,Norwoodby APA, and Stiller by The Kohner Agency.
About Tyler Perry
Born into poverty and raised in a household scarred by abuse, Perry’s strength, faith and perseverance would later form the foundations of his plays, films, books and shows. A simple piece of advice from Oprah set his career in motion as a diary of his daily thoughts and experiences led to his writing of a musical, I Know I’ve Been Changed, in 1992. Five years later with no money left, sleeping in seedy motels and his car, Perry’s faith in himself and God only got stronger, allowing him to forge ahead. In 1998, his perseverance paid off when the play began a limited church run.
The community came out in droves and Perry never looked back as he began an incredible run of eight plays in eight years. Madea first debuted in 2000’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself and spawned three more plays leading to Perry’s jump to the big screen with 2005’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which debuted at #1 nationwide. He followed with Madea’s Family Reunion, Daddy’s Little Girls, Why Did I Get Married?, Meet the Browns, The Family That Preys, I Can Do Bad All by Myself, Why Did I Get Married Too?, and For Colored Girls, which were all met with massive fan support and commercial success. Madea’s Big Happy Family, which was first a stage play, opened at over $25 million this past April. In 2006, Perry’s first book, Don’t Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea’s Uninhibited Commentaries On Life and Love, shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and claimed two Quill Book Awards.
In 2007, Perry expanded his brand to television with the series House of Payne, the highest-rated first-run syndicated cable show of all time and followed that up with Meet the Browns, the second highest debut ever on cable, after House of Payne. In November, Perry will unveil his newest television series on TBS, “For Better or Worse,” based on the characters from the popular “Why Did I Get Married” films.
He can next be seen in the lead role in Good Deeds, and played the title character in the recently wrapped Rob Cohen film I, Alex Cross. Perry is set to direct the upcoming Lionsgate drama based on his stage play of the same name, The Marriage Counselor.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as “Mad Men”, “Weeds” and “Nurse Jackie” along with the comedy “Blue Mountain State, ” the upcoming drama “Boss” and the syndication successes “Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne”, its spinoff “Meet The Browns”, the upcoming “For Better or Worse,” ”The Wendy Williams Show” and “Are We There Yet?”.
Its feature film business has generated more than half a billion dollars at the North American box office in the past year, fueled by such successes as THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, THE EXPENDABLES, which was #1 at the North American box office for two weeks, THE LAST EXORCISM, TYLER PERRY’S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, KICK ASS and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which won two Academy Awards®. The Company’s home entertainment business has grown to more than 8% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.