“I wanted to do something different this time,” claims Perry. “I originally started out telling a story about infidelity and then went in a whole different direction with these two families who have members preying on one another.”
As with all of his previous flicks, the idea for this project grew out of his own personal experience.
“I was going through a period in my life where I was having a lot of success, but I wasn’t happy,” shares the actor/producer whose successful career includes the hit cable television series “House of Payne.”
“People were taking shots at me, and I hadn’t experienced that negativity before and was at a place where I didn’t want to continue [making movies]. Then somebody asked me if I was living or existing, and I was like ‘wow, that’s a good thought.’ I just decided that I want to live today because tomorrow’s not promised.”
Starring Alfre Woodard, Taraji P. Henson, Sanaa Lathan, Cole Hauser and Kathy Bates, Preys tells the story of two families being torn apart by greed and scandal and was written by Perry, who credits producer Reuben Cannon for bringing Bates onboard the project.
“Usually when I write I have one or two people in mind to play each character, and I’ve always wanted to work with these great people. I thought there’s no way Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates will do my film, but Reuben is totally responsible for bringing her onboard. When she and Alfre both said yes, it was really wonderful. When you put these kind of people around you, you have a wonderful thing,” Perry says.
Woodard and Bates play close friends who have enjoyed a lasting friendship through many years. Both are the matriarchs of dysfunctional families, and their lives become mired in turmoil when their adult children’s extramarital affairs and unethical business practices threaten to destroy their 30-year friendship.
Hauser, as Bates’ only son, plays a philandering, self-centered husband who’s intent on replacing his mother as head of their family owned corporation, while Henson and Lathan play Woodard’s squabbling daughters. Rounding out the ensemble cast is Perry, Rockmond Dunbar, KaDee Strickland as Hauser’s supportive wife and Robin Givens.
“I don’t want all my movies to be the same thing over and over again so this time I wanted to try some different things,” explains Perry. “If you look at this movie, there are two different sides to what’s going on here. There’s the silliness of Madea that’s over the top, and then there’s another brand at work. As far as Kathy and Alfre’s storyline in the movie, that’s what came to me first. Their relationship came to me first, and out of that all these other characters were born. There are so many sides of who I am as a man and as a person, and I am going to tell all these different stories. I am looking at other writers and scripts, and we are taking on everything. If it’s something that speaks to me, I will get behind it 100 percent. There’s a lot of fresh untapped talent that haven’t had their shot, and those are the people that I am looking for.”
The Family That Preys releases in theaters Sep. 12.