Tyler Perry Back in Madea Business

Lionsgate has confirmed that Tyler Perry will portray Madea and Uncle Joe in "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns," the multihyphenate's fifth film for the studio and fourth as director. The story is adapted by Perry from his stage play "Meet the Browns."

The story centers on a single mother living in inner-city Chicago who takes her family to Georgia for the funeral of her father, whom she never met. There, she is introduced to the Browns, her father's fun-loving, crass Southern clan.

Production begins in the summer at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta; the film is slated for release in early 2008.

"Tyler is a unique and remarkable creative force, and we're delighted to continue adding films from one of our most successful franchises to our upcoming theatrical slate," said Michael Paseornek, Lionsgate president of film production. "The Brown family is one of Tyler's most popular creations, so it's exciting to see them come to the big screen."

Said Perry: "One of the beautiful things about my relationship with Lionsgate is the room they give me to move between developing brand new material and revisiting my earlier work. I've learned so much in the course of making four films with them, and it's been exciting and rewarding to apply that experience to 'Meet the Browns.' I feel a responsibility to the audience to make a film that's true to the spirit and message of the play yet still tells its own story."

Matthew Johnson of Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie, Stiffelman & Cook and Charles King at WMA negotiated the deal on Perry's behalf.

Perry's sitcom "House of Payne," which is being distributed in first-run syndication by Lionsgate's wholly owned Debmar-Mercury subsidiary, debuted Wednesday on TBS. His fourth Lionsgate feature, "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?" is slated for a Nov. 16 release.

Carolyn Giardina writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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