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Leading Men

Making History With Tyler Perry

I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give all of the surprise away! With that being said…


I stood in line a couple of months ago for 3-1/2 hours to be an extra in “I, Alex Cross”, directed by Rob Cohen and one of the star’s is Tyler Perry, a man I totally respect and admire for his personal story and his career.  I know an “extra” doesn’t mean a lot to most but it means everything to me, because I have always wanted to be in the entertainment field, but raising my children was my first priority. This is the very first Open Call I attempted and I never thought in a million years I would be called on the first one.  When I heard about the “Open Call” I was excited because the location of the call was fifteen minutes from my home.  It was a great opportunity and with some experience, I thought this would be a great start.  My family is excited for me because they say, I have always put my dreams on the back burner and with the hardships, pain and survivals, that I have experienced, which includes my battle and victory with cancer, and family members sicknesses and deaths, these past years, it seems it’s finally my turn to follow one of many of my dreams.

Maybe I'll get a glimpse of my car in the movie!

Day 1, I’m excited, I go to base, do wardrobe check and head over to the holding room.  Hoping to get a glimpse of Tyler Perry, and I’m expecting to do nothing but stand in the background, but I wanted to witness Mr. Perry step into another Genre of Movie.  That’s right Mr. Perry is doing a movie that is a thriller, mystery that also includes crime and action.  Well to my surprise, I was a part of a semi-stunt, driving my car.  “Wow!” I’m thinking “I might actually be seen in this movie”.  The other “extras” were very friendly, telling me of their stories and desires to pursue their craft and I am gathering notes to do the same.

By the ninth hour, I’ve read several chapters of “I, Alex Cross” by James Patterson, the book the movie is based on, to get an understanding of the project I’m working on. I’m getting a little tired, I have done about 4 scenes averaging a good number of takes, but leave it to me.  I go into survival mode and do what I do at home when I see people around me start to mope.  I use comedy to help boost people up.  I can’t say I did it for everybody, but if they were around me they got a dose of laughter. I also shared another one of my passions with them “Spoken Word”, I performed my self-written pieces and they loved it!

Unfortunately, after 11-1/2 hours, I didn’t get my glimpse of Mr. Perry.  I come home and I think to myself, “well maybe, the scenes I’m in will not require his presence”. I was a little sad, but then I thought “That’s okay because knowing that I am apart of one of his projects is just as exciting”.

Day 2, I’m still excited, my feet are still throbbing, from the day before, but I stick it out.  I speak with my new-found friends (extras).  It’s raining, it’s cold, I do a lot more scenes on and off when the rain subsides, so now my chances of being seen in the movie are getting better (my children will be thrilled).  I’m studying the actors, asking more questions, paying attention to what the movie crew is doing, but still in the back of my mind, maybe I’ll get lucky and see Mr. Perry in action.  Then on the way to get set for another scene, I see it, I’m thrilled, my heart is racing, because I am looking at the actor’s chair that says “Tyler Perry” with a side bonus, “Ed Burns” name was on the chair next to it, Mr “27 Dresses”, himself!  I am stoked, but back to business, I still have to do what I came here to do and that’s be the best “Extra” I can be!

To my surprise, I was so used to seeing the stand-in, this particular time, it was him!  It was Mr. Tyler Perry he was actually on set and I can see him!  He’ doing stunts we have never seen Madea do, he is doing a different kind of action than any of the movies I have watched him in.  OMG! I got more than a glimpse of Mr. Tyler Perry, I got to see him show another side of his craft that we were waiting to see, stunt action in a move that is described as a thriller, mystery that also includes crime and action.

The rain, didn’t matter, anymore, I forgot my feet was hurting, I couldn’t wait to tell my children and my mother, I actually was no longer just an “extra”, I was an Extra-Special-Extra!  I am a part of a project that Mr. Tyler Perry is starring in!  To top it off, I get to go back next week, but I’m going to think of more ways to gesture, to make sure, I’m an even better “extra” than I was the past two days!  I was on set for 12-1/2 hours on day 2 and I realized, I began my acting career in a major motion picture that stars Tyler Perry!

What really tickles me is that I always said, if I was in a Tyler Perry movie, that means I made it.  I may not be up for an Oscar yet, and I may not be in a “Madea” movie yet, but I made history with Tyler Perry…I’ll take that any day of the week and will carry it in my heart for the rest of my life!

I’m SMarchel and Blog on it!  It’s My Opinion!



One thought on “Making History With Tyler Perry

  1. Unfortunately, they cancelled the booking for this weeks extra’s, but not to worry, I still have my experience!

    Posted by smarchel | September 12, 2011, 3:52 pm

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