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Typically, Jackson thought the invite was another one of Perry’s safety checks.
“He worries about me a lot and calls sometimes just to see how I’m doing, so I had no idea he was thinking of making a movie out of the play—or that he’d want me in it, for that matter,” she says. “I remember being about 10 years old and visiting Michael in New York when he was filming The Wiz. “I always remembered it as the play with the really long name.” Perry had been hearing for years from women—most recently Whoopi Goldberg—who wanted him to adapt it.
He was such a close family friend, so I still remember that day and that feeling,” she says.
“And of course I’ve had so many friends pass away from AIDS who never talked about it until they got sick.
In fact, she was in the middle of filming Why Did I Get Married Too with him in Atlanta when her mentor, idol, and older brother Michael died from an alleged drug overdose.
Perry promptly hired extra security and prohibited photos of her from being released to the tabloids.
While Perry admits he "doesn't do" Halloween in real life, he reveals that he has Chris Rock to thank for the idea of the film."Lionsgate called after they saw Top Five, and in it, Chris Rock did this spoof called, , and they called me up going, 'You got to do that movie!
“I knew that some women really consider it the black woman’s bible,” Perrysays.
“That was fascinating to me.”Shange’s beautiful and haunting play is an especially un-film-friendly work.
But when I see what she’s been through, it makes me want to intervene in any way I can.”All of which explains how they came to work together on their latest movie, For Colored Girls.
The two had just wrapped up Married Too when Perry called to invite Jackson to see an Atlanta production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, the landmark 1974 Ntozake Shange play about a circle of African-American women who face so many hardships—rape, infidelity, infertility, the death of children—they could found their own Prozac nation.