Jesus and Movie-goers

Perryx More about Tyler Perry, whose latest film comes out today:

He has found success by catering to audiences Hollywood either doesn't get or doesn't care about: moviegoers of faith and color. Long before Mel Gibson introduced the mainstream to the clout of the devout with Passion of the Christ, Perry was commuting church to church in a Geo Metro that briefly doubled as his home, hawking his one-man plays about faith and family. . . .

He could only imagine his life now when he drove to Atlanta in 1992 in a Hyundai Excel that leaked so much transmission fluid into the passenger floorboard that he had to stop every two hours to siphon the fluid back into the engine.

He was fleeing New Orleans to escape a father he says routinely came home drunk and violent. The father, with whom Perry says he has reconciled, could not be reached for comment.

"You just never knew what hell you were going to get Friday or Saturday night," Perry says. "But no matter what, my mother got me up early Sunday morning. Nothing was going to stop us from going to church. That faith is was what kept us grounded." . . .

He can't make a studio pitch, he says, without some studio executive asking if he can drop at least some references to Jesus.


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