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Tyler Perry gets serious with 'Rainbow'
In an intriguing move, Tyler Perry has agreed to adapt, direct and produce a big scree nversion of Ntozake Shange's 1975 play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf" for Lionsgate.
This will be the first project going into production for Perry's 42th Street Films Production company based at Lionsgate, the studio which has released all his previous films. The one difference between "Colored" and some of his previous hits such as "Madea's Family Reunion" is that this is the first time Perry will be adapting another writer's work.
A series of 20 poems telling stories of love, abandonment, domestic abuse and other issues face by African-American women, "Rainbow is Enuf" seems like a good fit alongside Perry's more melodramatic work such as the upcoming "I Can Do Bad All By Myself."
The play was originally adapted into a 1982 TV movie for PBS' "American Playhouse" and featured performances by Alfre Woodard and Lynn Whitfeld. A Whoopi Goldberg produced Broadway revival was supposed to debut for the 2008-09 theater season, but was killed when funding fell through.
Perry has had success getting a number of prominent African-American actresses such as Angela Bassett, Taraji P. Henson and Woodward to star in his nine previous Lionsgate films, but there have been a number of holdouts who have shied away from his overly melodramatic work. Could the material in "Rainbow is Enuf" change their minds? We'll find out soon enough. Production should begin this November for a 2010 release.