Madea is back, after a family funeral for the ages in 2019. That film was followed up with a sold out Farewell Tour in 2020 and it seemed like the legendary matriarch was never coming back to screens near us. Fans were sad to see her go, but pleased at the potential for even more stories from the mind of Tyler Perry, prolific in a way few are. So in 2021, when Tyler announced that Madea was returning for a 12th film in the franchise, fans were shocked-and pleased. I had the opportunity to talk to Tyler, as well as Brandon Black and Brendan O’Carroll about their roles in the film-and what they hope this film brings to people who watch it.
For Tyler in particular, Madea’s return was about the state of the world. For him, Madea’s presence-when dealing with COVID lockdowns and restrictions, social injustice and civil unrest was necessary. He further emphasized that:
Brandon Black’s reasons were a bit more personal. This was a project that was personal to him in a very specific way. Being able to play Tim, a recent college graduate with a few secrets he needs to share, seems to have been almost cathartic for him. Growing up, Brandon felt as if he’d have to choose between being an actor or being gay-and that was on top of the struggle it can be to be Black and gay. Brandon says:
This time around Madea deals with a few issues at once. There’s Tim’s coming out, a May-September romance, pro and anti-police sentiment and a divorce going haywire to contend with. Because all of those topics might get a bit controversial, I asked Tyler why he continued to craft art featuring Madea-in spite of constant pushback. For Tyler, his art is all about the people who do enjoy what Madea brings to their screens. He doesn’t feel as if he has to be all things for everyone, especially because we’re living in a time where Black creators are telling myriad stories.
And speaking of things that other people may love. This time around, Madea is joined by a neighbor from across the pond. Agnes Brown (of Mrs. Brown’s Boys fame) is clashing with Madea and family this go round. Similar to Madea, Agnes is portrayed by a man. In this case, Brendan O’Carroll, who gave me quite a laugh with his joy at pronouncing my name correctly. For him joining the cast of A Madea homecoming, felt like…well coming home.
For Brandon the feeling was similar. The environment was collaborative and ego free. It made him feel like he was just as much of a someone as the other actors on set.
Ultimately, it seems like every cast member had the same goal. When it came to how they wanted their audience to come away from the film, they all wanted the audience to laugh, to see new perspectives, to feel unified.
As for what might be next for Madea-Tyler’s unsure. He’s just trying to make it through the release of this film, but obviously with Madea out of retirement-at least for now-there’s more to come.
Brendan doesn’t write off the idea of Mrs. Brown crossing the pond again-or maybe even vice versa!
I hope this interview gets you all ready for A Madea Homecoming-and don’t forget to come back and let us know how you felt about it in the comments below!