Tyler Perry comes out of his shell as sci­en­tist

Ac­tor-direc­tor sheds Madea drag for role as tur­tle-bat­tling bad guy

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By Ran­dall King

NEW YORK — In an age where comic-book movies have taken on heavy themes in­volv­ing pol­i­tics, pa­tri­o­tism, ter­ror­ism and tech­nol­ogy, Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles stands out from the crowd.

Be­fit­ting the source ma­te­rial of rep­til­ian mar­tial-arts adepts cre­ated by Kevin East­man and Peter Laird in 1984, TMNT is un­apolo­get­i­cally ju­ve­nile, lay­er­ing big may­hem over sim­plis­tic sto­ry­lines. It’s not hard to dis­tin­guish the good guys from the bad guys in these comics/movies/ TV se­ries.

So, all things con­sid­ered, it’s a cu­ri­ous thing to find Tyler Perry in the mid­dle of this may­hem.

Af­ter all, the im­pos­ingly tall, soft-spo­ken Perry, 46, is a self-made star in his own right. Raised amid vi­o­lence and poverty in New Or­leans, Perry strug­gled to com­mu­ni­cate his thoughts through the medium of theatre.

In 1998, he wrote a mu­si­cal that would be­come a hit in Atlanta, and from there, he would go on to build a film em­pire com­plete with his own stu­dio, largely on the strength of his char­ac­ter Madea, a tough, gun-tot­ing grandma who of­fered sage, no-non­sense ad­vice in a se­ries of Perry’s dis­tinc­tive com­edy-melo­dra­mas in­clud­ing Madea’s Fam­ily Re­union, Why Did I Get Mar­ried and Madea’s Wit­ness Pro­tec­tion. The ti­tles of his film are typ­i­cally pre­fixed: Tyler Perry’s...

Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles 2: Out of the Shad­ows, the se­quel to the 2014 hit, of­fered the film­maker-ac­tor a re­fresh­ing change-up. He plays sci­en­tist Bax­ter Stock­man, a flat-out evil guy ea­ger to em­ploy his sci­en­tific ge­nius to as­sist the vil­lain­ous Shred­der (Brian Tee) in launch­ing an alien in­va­sion on Earth.

Perry, who pre­vi­ously dipped his toes in the sci-fi uni­verse in the 2009 film Star Trek, ad­mits he wasn’t en­tirely fami­lar with the realm of the Ninja Tur­tles.

“When I first got the call and I got the of­fer, I went back and tried to do some re­search,” he says, ex­press­ing sur­prise at what he dis­cov­ered about the char­ac­ter.

“Wait, he’s black! Oh, OK.



Tyler Perry as Bax­ter Stock­man in Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles: Out of the Shad­ows. Above, from left, Donatello, Michelan­gelo, Leonardo and Raphael.

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