Behind the Scenes of THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB:
Tyler Perry and Cast Discuss Their New Movie
By Evy Baehr, Executive Managing Editor
Tyler Perry and the cast of THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB discussed his newest movie recently. Typically, Perry adds some more Christian content to his movies, but this time it was a lot more subtle. However, the movie does stress the need for mothers and the heart they have for their children.
Following five mothers, THE SINGLE MOMS CLUB shows the struggles of a single parent and how it’s important to surround yourself with people who understand and will lend support. To read MOVIEGUIDE®’s full review, please go to http://www.movieguide.org/reviews/tyler-perrys-single-moms-club.html.
Q: When I first saw the movie I thought I was going to see a bunch of women sort of gathered for male bashing. I thought you didn’t address that, which is great. So was that a conscious effort not to make it a movie about single mothers bashing their significant others?
Tyler: Yeah, that was a very conscious effort for me to not make this about the men. . . even though we’ve got a great male cast – Terry, myself, Ryan, and William Levy. They’re satellite characters. What is important is the women, their struggles, their lives and their coming together. So, that’s what was important to me. My point in this is this: if you don’t have the father figure in your life, then create the fathers where you can. Find other good men to be what you need for your children. So that was my point in that.
Q: Could you talk about if there was a certain catalyst for this story, something about “I’ve got to write this story”?
Tyler: About five or six years ago, I retired my aunt, who raised four boys by herself. She never took welfare a day in her life. She never begged anybody for anything. She always made it her own way. She raised these four boys by herself. As I was retiring her and celebrating her, she just kept saying how she never would have thought this would happen to her in her life. So, I started thinking about her and her life. This is my homage to her and to every other single mother out there. Let’s be clear – this is not a “woe is me” movie. No. This is about women doing what they have to do for their kids, not even thinking about it, just making it happen, and then this whole moment coming full circle.
Q: For Cocoa and Terry, love you guys together. I just wanted to have you guys share what the best part of working with the other was.
Terry Crews: Wow. First of all, I’ve been trying to be in a Tyler Perry movie for years. Years. I kept bumping into him, and I was like, “Now? Now?” I would see Tyler Perry posters of new movies, and I would be like, “I should have been in that movie.” Finally, when I got the call, I was so happy. Because he’s done his research on all of us, which is wild, and when he created the character Branson I was like, “Dude, that’s me!” It was so perfect, and then he knew that me and Cocoa were going to work.
Cocoa Brown: We had so much fun, you know. I never knew what Terry was going to do. I would know what was on the script, but Terry would always come in – I don’t even think the funeral wreath was written in the script – when he walked in with it. So, I mean you never knew what he was going to do, and it was so much fun working with him. So, much fun.
Q: Mr. Perry, a couple questions related to writing. How do you decide when you want to do a movie like this that is a little more grounded in regular reality versus your more wild, fun Madea movies? How do you decide, as someone who is openly believing or a Christian filmmaker, how do you decide where to draw the line on how far to take the lessons that you put in your movies? Like do you have a barometer to tell you, “Hey, I’m either being heavy-handed or maybe I need to be strong about x issue” in a given film?
Tyler: So the first part of the question was this versus Madea. You know what it is for me? Madea for me is just, I usually want to do something really stupid and broad and silly and fun after I’ve done something really heavy. I remember shooting FOR COLORED GIRLS or ALEX CROSS and thinking, “Okay, this is really dark. It’s really heavy, it’s taking me down too far.” So, I want to go and do something really, really fun. So, I’ll go and do Madea or play Uncle Joe or just play something really stupid. It’s all about where I am in my own head, where I just need a break. As far as this movie goes, this was just something that I thought needed to be addressed, that I wanted to do for a while. It is the last movie that I’m doing for a couple of years, since my focus right now is television. I wanted to take a break with something that I felt would be inspiring and really encouraging to a lot of people. So, that’s why I wanted to do this at this moment for the break.
Now, for the second part of the question. You know I don’t even worry about taking it too far or being heavy-handed. What I know is that me being a man of faith, I don’t want to just write movies or do films just to do movies or just to make money. If it’s not speaking to somebody, if it’s not encouraging somebody, if I’m not getting letters of hope from people, then I’m not doing what I’m here to do. There are lots of people who do movie and television and entertain, which is great, which I enjoy doing. I also feel like I have a responsibility to leave or impart some sort of something, whether people get it or not, because when I get messages from people saying, “I was going to commit suicide, but then I saw your movie and it helped me to understand,” “I was going through a bad break up and now I get it,” “I’m sitting here raising this kid alone, and now I see this and it speaks to me.” Those kinds of moments work for me, and they keep me going, so that is what’s important to me. So as far as being heavy-handed and knowing when to go, I just listen to the characters and let them dictate to me which way it should go, if that makes sense.