Comedy actor and producer Tyler Perry was reluctant to take on the title role in "Alex Cross," his first action film, which also features "LOST" alum Matthew Fox as a demented serial killer named Picasso.
Morgan Freeman originally played Alex Cross in the 1998 film "Kiss the Girls" and in the 2001 film "Along Came a Spider."
"My first reaction was, 'No absolutely not,' because Morgan Freeman had done this role and you don't go behind Morgan Freeman. You can't do it," Perry told OTRC.com. "But no, what made me say 'yes' was the arc of the character."
"He's a family man, he goes to work, he's someone else, when the tragedy happens he becomes someone else and then he's this lion that's unleashed," Perry added. "So it's all of these different characters that it was such a great arc, that made me say yes."
Cross is a homicide detective and psychologist who is pursuing a serial killer nicknamed Picasso played by Matthew Fox, who told OTRC.com at the film's premiere that he dropped 35 pounds to play the role. Perry described the actor's performance as "brilliantly creepy."
"He was beyond incredible and in the scenes with him, it was like watching a caged animal in his eyes. I was so fascinated by what he was doing and how he was playing it. He let loose," Perry added. "Wasn't ever afraid but as an actor I had to keep talking myself into staying in character because I was so fascinated by what he was doing that as the director in my head is going, 'That's brilliant.'"
Perry, a screenwriter and director most likely known for writing and directing the "Madea" franchise also acted in the 2009 film "Star Trek." He said he had no trouble taking direction from the film's director Rob Cohen, who is known for helming "The Fast and the Furious," "xXx" and "Dragonheart."
"I'm very good at that actually. As long as I'm with someone who knows where they're going, I can follow. I can sit in the back seat and not say a word," Perry said. "As long as I know that you know where you're going and Rob was very clear on where he was going, what he wanted and how he wanted it and once he made that clear, I stepped back and just let that happen."
The writer/director also said he got along great with co-star Edward Burns, who is also a writer and director as well as an actor. Perry said he and Burns challenged each other on set to write a screenplay while shooting "Alex Cross" and Burns did just that with the film "The Fitzgerald Family Christmas."
"We really had a great chemistry and we have since become friends. That all seemed so real on camera because it is," Perry said.
"Alex Cross" hit theaters on October 19. Check out the trailer below.