Thursday, September 29, 2022

Tyler Perry Says America Needs a Film Like ‘A JAZZMAN’S BLUES’ | EUR Exclusive

Tyler Perry directing "A Jazzman's Blues"
‘A Jazzman’s Blues,’ Director Tyler Perry and Joshua Boone as Bayou.
Cr. Jace Downs / ©2022 Netflix

“A JAZZMAN’S BLUES” is the new Tyler Perry film 27 years in the making. The film tells the story of Bayou (Joshua Boone) and Leanne (Solea Pfeiffer), two star-crossed lovers coming of age in Savannah, Georgia, during the 1940s. Their forbidden love is the key to forty years of secrets and lies.

“A JAZZMAN’S BLUES” was Perry’s first screenplay 27 years ago. The writer, director, and executive producer shared with EUR why he felt now was the right time to make this film.

Perry said, “looking at what’s going on in our country, there’s an assault on the history of Black people in the country, from certain political figures who want to ban books, want to rewrite history, want to homogenize and water down the pain that we went through. So I thought, now’s the time to tell this story to have a partner like Netflix, who understood it and got it and said, Okay, let’s do it. It’s been great.”

In the story, Bayou and Leanne fall in love. But Leanne’s mother wants more for her daughter and takes her up north for a better life. One where the two will pass as white women. Bayou never stops loving Leanne. Their paths cross later in life, though under very different circumstances.

READ MORE: Ava DuVernay Unpacks Final Season of ‘Queen Sugar’ | EUR Exclusive

Perry envisioned himself in the lead role when he initially wrote the script, and his dream cast included stars like Halle Berry and Diana Ross. However, in 2022, Perry said he chose his leads, Boone and Pfeiffer, because of their theatre background and ability to understand the period and immerse their characters in it.

Perry explained, “I wanted people of the age who got it. Who understood it. If you look back on incredible actors like Denzel Washington, Howard Rollins, and Laurence Fishburne, they all came up in that in that soldier’s story era. There’s just a level of incredible brilliance that was there. I couldn’t find that level of actors. So I went to Broadway, to the stage, where I found Solea and Austin(Scott, who portrays Willie Earl) and Joshua Boone. People who understood the time. Because I hate to see a movie that is set in a period, and the actors are really modern. So I wanted it to be authentic to what it was.”

“A JAZZMAN’S BLUES” debuts on Netflix on September 23. Check out my full conversation with Mr. Perry via the clip below.

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