Tyler Perry shares a hug with his on-screen wife, actress Taraji P. Henson and costar Sanaa Lathan at a screening of his new film, “The Family That Preys,” now in theaters. Perry produced, directed and stars in the film that explores the lives and dramas of two families.
“I love how he takes ownership of his projects,” Lathan tells ESSENCE of working with Perry. “He’s pushed me in ways I haven’t been pushed by a director in years.”
The film’s cast Rockmond Dunbar, Kaira Whitehead, Henson, Alfre Woodard and Lathan represent in style at the New York screening. The movie also stars Kathy Bates and Cole Hauser in leading roles, and is Perry’s most diverse project to date.
“I don’t think it’s a move to go mainstream as much as it’s me wanting to tell a range of stories,” Perry told ESSENCE. “I just want to spread my wings. People will be surprised.”
2008 ESSENCE Do Right Men and Co-producers of “The Family That Preys” Reuben Cannon and Roger M. Bobb are excited to continue making use of great actors to tell great stories. Before the film began Perry credited Cannon with securing Kathy Bates for the cast.
“I aim to tap into all the underutilized talent in Hollywood,” Cannon tells ESSENCE, “beginning with the Tyler Perry Studios.”
Actress Sally Struthers steals a kiss from Henson, as they make their way inside the theater.
“I’ve never worked with a director-actor before,” Henson said, “and Tyler makes doing it all look so easy.”
Producer Roger M. Bobb and actress Mari Morrow attend the screening of the new film, “The Family That Preys,” in New York.