Only Tyler Perry could get Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Macy Gray in one room for a press conference. As much as these women were eager to appear on the behalf of their beloved writer-director, they were also there to promote the words Ntozake Shange who wrote the play upon which their film is based, For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
In their version, titled For Color Girls, each actress assumes the role of a woman struggling with a particular issue ranging from simple relationship troubles to more severe problems. Elise plays Crystal, a woman trying to manage her husband’s violent rage. Thompson is Nyla, a young girl thrilled to lose her virginity, but devastated with the consequences. Jackson is Jo, a magazine editor who’s so wrapped up in her work, she fails to notice when the people around her need help. Devine is Juanita who is frustrated with the fact that she never knows if the man she loves will still be there when she gets home from work. Newton plays Tangie, who has a habit of bringing a new man back to her apartment every night. This behavior doesn’t go over well with her watchful neighbor, Rashad’s character, Gilda, who only wants to help. Rose plays Yasmine, a dance instructor just looking for Mr. Right while Washington plays Kelly, a social worker pained by her inability to make a difference. Lastly, Gray appears as an abortionist who doesn’t exactly have the tools to perform a proper operation.
It may seem like a lot to keep track on in words, but on the screen each lady is given the opportunity to bring her character and Shange’s words to life. Thanks to the gravity of the material, this was no easy task, but with Perry’s assistance, each and every one of them were able to overcome their anxiety and do this iconic piece of literature justice. Check out all of the details for yourself below.
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It’s too bad Tyler Perry couldn’t take a cue from his film’s title, which was chopped down from For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, the 1975 Ntozake Shange play upon which the film is based, to simply For Colored Girls. Just like his name attracts massive amounts of moviegoers, it works like a charm when it comes to casting, too. Yes, it’s thrilling to print a massive list of famous names on your roster, try to adapt an iconic play and express a hefty handful of heavy-duty messages, but when it came to actually making those elements thrive in a film, it proved to be far more than Perry could handle.
Phylicia Rashad is Gilda, the manager of a New York City apartment building and the unofficial housemother, especially when it comes to her next-door neighbor Tangie (Thandie Newton). Night after night Tangie brings a new guy back to her place and sends them packing early the next morning, however, her younger sister, Nyla (Tessa Thompson), is dealing with an entirely different situation. She’s thrilled about finally losing her virginity, but her world comes crashing down when she finds out she’s pregnant. Even worse? Her mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is entirely consumed by her religious beliefs and would only shun Nyla for her sin.
Then there’s Janet Jackson as the big time magazine editor with an attitude, Joanna. When she isn’t tossing folks seeking charitable donations like Juanita (Loretta Devine) out of her office, she’s busy bossing around her longtime assistant Crystal (Kimberly Elise). As if life at work isn’t hard enough, at home Crystal has to deal with her abusive husband and care for her two young children. Gilda’s got her eye on the situation and even takes it upon herself to summon a social services agent, Kelly (Kerry Washington). Kelly also ends up consoling Anika Noni Rose’s character, Yasmine, after a vicious sexual assault.
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After word spread last week that two music superstars, Mariah Carey and frequent Tyler Perry collaborator Janet Jackson, were being considered for the director’s next film, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” fans wondered if the rumors could be true. And on Wednesday (March 31) at the junket for “Why Did I Get Married Too?,” Perry confirmed the casting news.
However, Perry pointed out that other women who have been rumored to be attached to the flick, like Halle Berry and Jill Scott, are still just rumors. “Let me tell you the cast,” he said, with “Why Did I Get Married Too?” star Jackson by his side. “It’s Janet, Mariah, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Jurnee Smollett, Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine,” he said, adding that Anika Noni Rose has also been added.
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