If there's any doubt Atlanta media mogul Tyler Perry is trying to branch out and find new audiences then it begins and ends by him casting one of Canada's funniest comedy exports, Eugene Levy, as the co-star of his new movie Madea's Witness Protection
In the latest comedy in Perry's hugely-successful Madea franchise, Levy plays George Needleman, an accountant at a financial firm that gets caught up in a scandal when they're caught laundering money for the mob. With his life in danger, George needs to go into hiding with his senile mother (Doris Roberts), trophy wife (Denise Richards) and two kids, so an FBI agent, played by Perry, convinces his relatives Madea and Joe, also both played by Perry, to take the Needleman family in until things blow over. Besides seeing Madea and her brother Joe contend with the intrusion of the Needleman family, the movie also has Madea accompanying George to New York City, dealing with the Transit Authority and high-class hotels.
Having seen many of Eugene Levy's previous work from the popular Canadian sketch shows "Second City" and "SCTV" to his work with Christopher Guest, including Best in Show
and A Mighty Wind
, as well as his unforgettable role as Jim's Dad in the "American Pie" franchise, we were certainly curious to see how Levy's brand of humor would play within Tyler Perry's world.
ComingSoon.net had a chance to find out when we spoke with Levy earlier this week, and in the video interview below, we talk to the comic actor about:
* How he was approached to play the role
* Whether he wanted to go back and watch other Madea movies to prepare
* What the screenplay was like and how that informed his decision to be in it
* How he wanted to be the straight man to be Madea
* Tyler Perry's way of working when it comes to improv
* How George Needleman's story plays into the Madea franchise
* What he does next—hints at developing a television show with no details
* We talk about his work with Christopher Guest and how they're trying to figure out what to do, but because so many TV shows like "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" use Guest's faux-doc format, it's been hard to figure out what to do next.
* The success of "American Reunion" internationally vs. the US
Madea's Witness Protection opens in theatres on Friday, June 29.