Tyler Perry On His Role In Star Trek & Being Directed By JJ Abrams

One of the more surprising castings in the new Star Trek movie is Tyler Perry, who has a couple of scenes in the film. Perry is best known as the producer, writer, director and star of his own films and TV shows, and Star Trek is actually the first film he has appeared in that he didn’t direct. In a new interview with BlackVoices, Perry talks about what it was like on Trek and being directed by JJ Abrams. [minor spoilers]


Perry talks Trek
Excerpts via BlackVoices]

Black Voices: How fun was it to work on ‘Star Trek’?

Tyler Perry: It was really exciting. J.J Abrams is a fan and he called and asked me if I would be interested in doing the film and I was shocked. The timing was perfect and it was only a week. It’s a really small role. It really helped me to see what it’s like to be on someone else’s set.

Black Voices: What’s your role in the film?

TP: I’m the Commander of the Star Fleet. I run the school. I’m a pretty big guy, literally, and in the film.

Black Voices: Were you a ‘Star Trek’ fan?

TP: No, I only had two scenes with the two leads. I wasn’t a trekkie, but after seeing the trailer, I may become one.

Black Voices: I know you mentioned that Abrams is a fan of yours, but considering you haven’t acted in films outside of your own, did you wonder if he brought you on to bring in a large African American base to the film?

TP: I don’t know if that is what he was thinking. Looking at him and talking to him, he is the Jewish version of me. He works on television and works on films. He does not stop. He writes as well. I was watching him work and rework the scene, and there’s something about my story that is so similar to him in what I’m doing. I think it intrigued him as much as it intrigued me. I don’t think that demographics was the case of me being in the film; because they would have given me a supportive role rather than just a cameo. I think it was about him feeling me out and me about him, and I think it worked out okay.

More from Perry on Trek, Wolverine and other projects at BlackVoices.

Perry’s latest film, Madea Goes To Jail, opens February 20th, here is the trailer…

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Don’t know this man or his work.

As Khan said to Terrell,….”I don’t know you”…..

hopefully Tyler Perry can bring a whole new segment of the population into Star Trek, the only way there’s going to be a sequel is if it’s a huge success at the box office.

Oh, if only Madea had been Commandant of Starfleet Academy…

I’ve never watched Tyler Perry in Tyler Perry’s productions of Tyler Perry’s movies written by Tyler Perry, but he has a huge fan following. I’m sure that Abrams had reason to cast him, possibly his comic timing giving him the right punch for a scene with JTK.

Tyler Perry.

…I don’t know this guy either, nor am I familiar with his work. So his cameo isn’t that big a deal to me either.

How intrigued he is by this movie and those who worked on it is a very big deal to me and makes me even more excited for it to come out! :D

This a change. The first time he was interviewed he was dismissive about the experience. Now he says it was “exciting”, I wonder what changed his mind retrospectively.

Finally a movie with Tyler Perry that doesn’t have his name above the title.



“TP: I wasn’t a trekkie, but after seeing the trailer, I may become one.”

This is what we need! I think this was a smart move on JJ’s part. Introducing an audience who normally would’nt give two craps about Trek a formal intro into it so they see how analagous their respective agendas are. Especially given Obama’s new presidency I say “Welcome!” We have the first interracial kiss, the first important equal role for an African American female, the history of embracing what is different on the even ground of our similarities. Roddenberry’s vision welcomed all races, creeds, cultures and Tyler Perry is a very visable figure in a culture which Trek has attempted to yet not quite brought into our fold. We’ve had Whoopi and LeVar but still I think Tyler is so down in the trenches with African American folks that he probably will do a better job at reaching that ‘demographic’ than has been reached before.

You could be jaded and call it calculated or you could see it as a hand reaching out — which is how I prefer to look at this. I think it’s a good idea and I’m pretty happy about it. IDIC indeed.

10 – What about Nichelle? She’s from a time when there were hardly any good roles for African Americans on American television. Thank God for “Star Trek” and its enlightened vision in some rather unenlightened times.

3- That would make for the best scene ever! Especially if some cadet was sassing her, she would just give him the beat down.

Tyler Perry is a pretty cool guy. I’ve loved watching his character Madea (along with a few other characters he portrayed in that same film) since I saw “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” a few years ago. This guy has his head screwed on right, and I am sure he’ll proove to have been a good choice for the role he’s in.

It’s a little presumptuous for him to equate himself to J.J.

His goofy TBS comedy is not Lost.

His goofy limited appeal movies are not major Hollywood films.

I’m not a big fan of Tyler Perry’s work but whatever you think of him he is creative and his movies make some good money relative to the budget.

And #14 Andrew, I don’t think he was trying to say he was literally just like JJ Abrams, I think he meant that they both have the same work ethic. He even says that like him, JJ Abrams works TV and movies and does not stop.

This guy has an unwarranted ego, I think.

Tyler Perry’s Big Star Trek Captainy Thing Movie.

Ive seen some of Perry’s stuff and it is pretty good and I think its cool that they brought him out of his own stuff and into something else cause I think the guy has talent and should expand his acting. And he did point out one of the almost assured good things about this movie, it will bring new people to the world of Star Trek, and a lot of them might go and watch some of the series’s and find something they like there to. Even if I dont agree with where JJ is taking Star Trek, I will agree that the guy works his ass off. 3 months and one day. Oh, and looking at that poll, wow, I wouldnt think so many people would rank Voyager under Enterprise, not saying that Enterprise is total trash (at least I didnt think so) but most Trekkies seem to hate it. I guess Voyager did something even worse to piss them off that bad. Was it the Borg?

Well. I have never heard of him. But if he can help bring more people to Trek then Kool.

I recall that alot of Hollyweird’s big shot’s being very upset with him recently because of some unethical things Tyler was doing behind-the-scenes at his TBS show.

I love Tyler Perry’s movies, and he is a welcome addition to the Trek universe. His movies are filled with optimism and making your life better. Not much different than Trek’s philosophy.

My first fear on hearing about Perry playing an ambiguous “Commander of Starfleet (Academy)” is that he’ll be the tired stereotyped drill Sargent (like Lou Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman or (the brilliant) R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket); some of the Academy designs suggest a Starship Troopers approach (as others have noted and it’s an interesting film) but I have faith (of the heart) that Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman will be more original than that.

If not for Tyler Perry, it’s doubtful that Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence alone could fill America’s unquenchable desire to see black men dressed as obese women.

I’ve only seen Perry’s “Why did I get Married?” which was a pretty decent flick IMHO.

11. Brett Campbell –
“10 – What about Nichelle?”

I was addressing this directly when I said “We have the first interracial kiss, the first important equal role for an African American female”. Yes, Nichelle did a lot, Whoopi & LeVar did a lot. I think Tyler Perry can also do much in the same arena. I’m not undervaluing anything that’s come before, I’m saying this is in that very tradition.

18. Will_H –
“Oh, and looking at that poll, wow, I wouldnt think so many people would rank Voyager under Enterprise, not saying that Enterprise is total trash (at least I didnt think so) but most Trekkies seem to hate it. I guess Voyager did something even worse to piss them off that bad. Was it the Borg?”

Two things: 1.) Voyager was crap, 2.) Enterprise (after it’s first two lukewarm seasons) became a really good show that deserved to survive much more than Voyager did. It did a pretty good job at setting the stage for TOS. I have been really sorry that it didn’t continue. If Voyager were cancelled after its 4th season I don’t think I would’ve cared at all. It was going nowhere. It did nothing to further the history of the Federation or Starfleet. Voyager was, all and all, pointless.

22. Jai1138 –
“… but I have faith (of the heart)”

Oh, dude, that was awful! Lol!

26, I admit — I was provoking a response. Short of trolling, Anthony.

Good GOD that trailer looks retarded!!!!


I mean it, if it was any more retarded, people would die from watching that trailer. I saw maybe 3 or 4 white people the rest was black. I guess being white isn’t cool.

Anyway, this film looks retarded, how this even has anything to do with Star Trek is beyond me. Now if JJA, took the actor from LOST, the guy who played Mr. EKO, THEN WE’RE IN BUSINESS!!!

Now? Not so much…

25 – Izbot – Yes, you are correct. Sorry, I should have read your post more carefully.

Wow! I’m shocked that there are not more deverse comments here, from more people. It seems only a small fraction here likes to look outside the box. I think Mr. Tyler is brillant and you fellow Trekkers haven’t heard of him and his funny as all heck work need to explore more. His work like “The Great Bird Of The Galaxy” also has messages in it.
What cave has some us been lurking,not to check other things in the Entertainment world? I think Mr. Abbrams is doing what Gene Roddenberry would done, by reaching out and casting Mr. Taylor. His work is the work of genuis. I can’t wait to see him in the new movie.
So get out of the basement(HA HAR)and rent or buy some of his DVD movies and his live theatre perfomances. Some funny stuff there. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. And hey I used to live in a basement, so there.

Sorry for the typos above.

“It seems only a small fraction here likes to look outside the box.”

Q: If something simply has no appeal for you, are you guilty of not “looking outside the box” automatically?

Prediciton: “Madea Goes to Jail” will the big winner at the 2010 Razzie Awards.

To be honest, I’m a big fan of Tyler’s movies and plays, though I haven’t really got into the TV shows. People give him a hard time about having his name all over the credits of his movies (and probably the TV shows too), but I guess he might be making a statement. You see, Tyler came from homelessness and misery to where he is today, and I applaud him for his determination, his work, and his faith. Not everyone ‘gets’ what he does, but I do, and I appreciate and enjoy it.

Can’t wait to see him, and all the great actors doing their thing in May.

Yeah, I don’t really get the hate for him. Not everyone’s a fan of his stuff, but you can at least respect what he’s done.

I remember when I lived in Los Angeles seeing boot leg copies of his early productions. They were very christian oriented and had spiritual songs in between the comedy.They were passed around…mainly via black church goers and found their way into the general public. They were hilarious and even then you could tell he was headed for bigger things. I DO believe JJ is a fan of his and it probably stems from seeing this early work as opposed to his secular/mainstream work.

Perry’s a big fish in the small Atlanta pond, but he owns his own stuff like Oprah, so he’s destined to be filthy rich. He also uses the networks of black churches to market his product. It’s hard to not admire his accomplishments.

But his movies are pedantic.

Hollywood people shouting about “ethics” is like arsonists asking someone to stub out a cigarette.


it had something to go with the writing staff and how he managed it.

some writers from a couple of ABC show’s wrote went on tv and put him down for what he did.

All he’s saying is he works hard and has his hands in a few pies. I don’t see ego. JJ’s having a good run, much like Perry who probably had bigger hurdles to overcome to get where he is so, you might say, he’s achieved relatively MORE success than JJ. Staying just under the radar is probably his strategy. The guy is smart. And he’s devoted to his ministry so to speak. I don’t think he wants to be a Spielberg. I recently watched “Diary of…” and thought it was great for what it was. He’s doing old fashioned morality tales in the gritty, down to the people way of old english theater. Madea reminds me of Archie Bunker who we all loved and hated. His humor is reaching a lot of people and the message is a positive one.

I think it’s a waste that Tyler Perry only got a small cameo role in the film, but then again, I admit I wouldn’t want to see a whole show full of cameo appearances. That being said, I’m most looking forward to the cameo of the late, great Randy Pausch.

Okay, so Perry is the Headmaster of Starfleet academy.
I bet he will lecture Jim Kirk about the consequences of cheating…

Never heard of him, so it’s appropriate he is in something I WISH I had never heard of. :)

I am loving the useless “I do not know this person therefore do not care” comments…why post that! Waaaaaaaste!!

Anywho, I think its good…will bring in additionally viewers and certainly cannot hurt the film!

I’ve never heard of this fella. That’s not saying much, since I had never heard of the majority of the stars of the new Star Trek movie…

14. Andrew – February 7, 2009
It’s a little presumptuous for him to equate himself to J.J.

His goofy TBS comedy is not Lost.
His goofy limited appeal movies are not major Hollywood films.

The guy has made a lot of money with very limited investment. He is a one-man ATM, which makes the studios very pleased.

Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys $37,105,289
Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns $41,975,388
Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married $55,204,525
Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls $31,366,978
Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion $63,257,940
Diary of a Mad Black Woman $50,633,099

Lifetime Gross Total (6): $279,543,219
Average: $46,590,537

Opening Gross Average (6): $20,327,387 (Wide Releases Only)

Not to glorify Abrams to the point of nausea here, but Abrams had had three tv shows with his name on it: Felicity (didn’t watch), Alias (didn’t watch – apparently the plot was Jennifer Gardner wearing a g-string with different colored hair every week), and LOST, which I watch. However, LOST is really a production of Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse.

J.J. wrote the teleplay for and directed the pilot, and wrote one other episode “A Tale of Two Cities”. J.J. notable movie writing credits are Regarding Henry, Forever Young, Gone Fishin’ (yes, the Joe Pesci movie), Armageddon, Joy Ride, and MI:III.

And on a similar note: Bob Orci does not write for Fringe -it’s his brother.

28, how old are you? That is one of the most ignorant comments I’ve ever read on this site. I didn’t see the trailer, so I don’t know if it’s actually as “retarded” as you claim, but seriously, why the hell shouldn’t there be mostly black characters and actors in a movie made by a black man for a black audience? Do you get offended when you see the dozens of trailers running on TV at any given time that feature next to no black people, or is it just offensive when the white faces are outnumbered? God, that was just a stupid thing to say.

And Stanky, you continue to baffle me. See, if I knew there was a movie, a movie I’d decided to hate years ago, a movie that I knew other people were excited for, and come into a place full of said optimistic people for the sole purpose of pissing all over the place, I wouldn’t on the grounds that it’s just plain rude. Or does common courtesy not apply to you because you have the dissenting opinion, and therefore are entitled to say whatever the f*ck you want or else it’s OMFG OPPRESSION!!!!11! ?

(I mean, if this were a thread pertaining to something actually worth debating over? Then yeah, your odd little campaigning would make sense. But going out of your way to remind us, once again, that you hate this movie, have always hated this movie, will always hate this movie, and hate everything related to this movie, in a thread about one little interview by a cameo character? Yeah, that’s more than a little weird.)

“it had something to go with the writing staff and how he managed it.

some writers from a couple of ABC show’s wrote went on tv and put him down for what he did.”

…Couldn’t have been *that* big a deal. We didn’t see the Mafi…er…the Writer’s Guild get involved and call a strike. But then again, this is TBS, the Inbred Network we’re talking about. Nobody cares what they do :-P

The first cross dressing commander in Star Fleet?

I’m pretty amazed at the Dislike voiced here as well, especially from Trek fans ever spouting about the inclusiveness of Trek.
Tyler Perry is EXTREMELY respected in the African American Community. (And nope, I’m a white guy). His stories, movies and TV shows, all represent and pay homage to aspects of modern African American Life. He does definitely have a built in audience, and his stuff is pretty darned funny and touching and well written, and they always have some sort of message for the Black Community. I don’t understand why someone cannot be proud of the fact that they Have Written, Produced, Direct and have roles in their productions. JJ can be, but Tyler Perry can’t? What’s up with that?