Tyler Perry opened up about the moment Will Smith famously slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars in a storyteller conversation at Tribeca Film Festival. Perry was seen speaking to Smith after the incident, but the actor-director-producer made it clear that he was "de-escalating" the situation, rather than comforting Smith.
Perry stated, "I was there close-up, so I left early to check on Chris because it wasn't right in any uncertain terms." "I made sure to say that to Will and when we walked up to him, he was distraught. He couldn't believe it.
He said, "I think that he is very much reflecting on trying to figure out why it happened."
Perry continued to quote Smith's bestseller "Will" where the Oscar-winning actor illustrated an instance when he couldn't protect his mother at eight years old.
Perry stated, "I feel that feeling. I get chills just thinking about it." "I feel that feeling of being a father and thinking about the little boy. It will manifest in the most inappropriate and most terrible ways if it isn't addressed as soon as possible.
King then asked Perry if he was comforting Smith in that moment. Perry made a clear distinction.
Perry stated that there is a difference in comforting and deescalating. It's been difficult to be friends with them both.
The conversation was dominated by Tyler Perry Studios' success, as King quickly pointed out when she introduced Perry.
"Tyler Perry Studios [is] 330 acres. Is that really so big? King stated that it is larger than Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount combined. "Please, round of applause."
He replied, "That's why your tired, every time you hear that." That's why your sleep so hard.
Perry, 52, was homeless at one point and slept in his car, which was up for repossession. Perry is now the highest-paid Black actor and his salary was $154million last year.
Perry stated, "My payroll -- and not my bills -- was $154 million." Perry said that this was to 99 percent of Black people. These are people who wouldn't have been able to get a job in the industry.
Perry's wealth is largely due to his enormous film complex in Atlanta, which currently houses 12 soundstages. Perry stated that each stage was named after African Americans, Smith included, and Spike Lee, a fellow filmmaker, who once criticised Perry's audience for "sitting infront of the idiot box" and voting with their time.
Perry stated, "I honored him since I don't care about what he said." Perry said, "How can you ignore his contribution?" He did the right thing and I would not be here if he hadn't."
King expressed a deep appreciation for Perry's work throughout the panel discussion. He said that he was not driven by money or fame, but rather by his love of Perry's work.
"I don't think about being tired, and I don't think about making another No. 1 movie." Perry stated that he was not thinking about making another No. 1 movie. "Honestly, my hand is up to God, I think about the audience I have cultivated since the beginning of my career. What are we looking for? What will speak to us? What is going to make you laugh? This is the intent and all other things follow."
Perry's audience has not always been in line to the mainstream interests of Hollywood studios.
Perry stated that "crossover" was a term Perry used to refer to when he started to have success. "Tyler, what's your plan to cross over?" Perry asked. This meant "What are you going do to make white people like me?" What are you going do to become more mainstream? That was something I rejected because I felt that whoever created the line of crossover went both ways. "Come over to what I'm doing, you don't need to go over there."
King highlighted Perry's openness about his experience as a victim of abuse and the violence that he witnessed as a child. Perry responded to King by pointing to his work as a healer.
He said, "The therapy is in the work." Every character needs a motivating factor to be a writer. When I write, "And she got up, and she went over the stove," there must be a reason. What was she trying to do? What was she doing? Is she a cook? That's how I applied it to my own life. Why are you feeling this way? What is the point of saying that? What made you so mad? Because everything we do in our lives, as children, men and women, is connected to something from the past. As a writer, it's my job to find that string.
Perry is most well-known for his Madea character, which he has appeared in eleven films. Perry originally planned to retire the elderly, fictional character. However, he has decided to bring the character back for additional projects.
Perry stated, "I was done but the political divide and the social injustice and the hate and anger, and being bombarded with negativity and constant feeding was killing me." I was like, "We gotta have a good time. We had to do something. "What can I do to make you laugh?"
Perry believes bipartisanship is the best way to reduce negativity.