Hollywood Movies

Not Another Church Movie Star Hopes Tyler Perry Gets the Joke

May 10, 20247 Mins Read

When Kevin Daniels got a call from his agent’s mom that she’d pitched him for the lead role in a film she was producing, it didn’t take much for him to say “yes.”

“We had a zoom meeting and we kind of laughed and told some jokes and they were like, ‘Hey, you want to come down to Savannah?’ and I was like, ‘I like Savannah. That sounds nice,’” Daniels tells The Hollywood Reporter.

The film was Not Another Church Movie, a spoof comedy of Tyler Perry’s Madea series, written, directed and produced by Johnny Mack (Real Husbands of Hollywood), which is set to hit theaters on May 10. In it, Daniels, stars as the hardworking Taylor Pherry, a man given a mission directly from God (Jamie Foxx) to write a story about his dysfunctional family to save billionaire talk show host Hoprah Windfall’s plummeting TV ratings. However, the devil (Mickey Rourke) has plans to sabotage the efforts of Pherry, which play out like scenes from Perry’s popular comedies like Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet the Browns, Madea Goes to Jail, and I Can Do Bad All by Myself. Instead of Madea saving the day as she does in the original film series, though, Not Another Church Movie gives audiences MaDude, also played by Daniels.

“It was really fun,” the actor says of spoofing Perry in multiple roles for the film. “I wanted to pay tribute to what he was doing, make a good joke about it, but I didn’t want to imitate, per se, what he was doing.”

Daniels, who jokingly calls himself a “30-year overnight success story,” currently has a recurring role on Paramount+’s Frasierreboot and ABC‘s Will Trent while also starring in the play Monsters of the American Cinema, a coming-of-age story about family and loss in the face of racism and homophobia, in Los Angeles. The variety of characters he morphs into on-screen and on stage speaks to his philosophy as an actor.

“I just like to tell stories,” Daniels says. “Whatever kind of comes up, I feel it’d be great to do.”

Below, Daniels chats with THR about the experience shooting Not Another Church Movie over 10 days in Georgia and what he hopes Perry will think about the film.

What did Johnny Mack explain to you about the premise of this film?

He used to write for Jamie Foxx, and they’d been buddies for a long time, and he’d written this script based on an experience he’d had, and he gave it to Jamie. He was trying to get to Queen Latifah because he wanted her to play God, and apparently Jamie read it and was like, “You know, Queen, she’s busy. She doesn’t want to do this. I’ll play God. I got you,” and that’s how it started. We grew up watching those spoof movies, like Not Another Teen Movie and I think the Wayne Brothers did the last one, so he wanted to add something else. Tyler has this huge wealth of movies and this empire, so I think he thought, “Oh, that’d be great to pay homage to him and crack a couple of light jokes.” And I think that’s what it ended up being.

Did you watch every Madea movie to prep?

All of them. And I don’t know if you know what watching all those movies back-to-back might do to you —by the way I enjoy the characters, it’s great — but after a while, you’re like, “Oh, I’ve seen this, OK that’s the same character.” But it was really fun. I wanted to pay tribute to what he was doing, make a good joke about it, but I didn’t want to imitate, per se, what he was doing. But I wanted people to know who it was.

You then had to play multiple roles in this spoof version. What was that like?

Because Tyler plays himself, Madea, Joe, and a couple of other characters in his films, when they brought it to me, I thought, “Oh, it could be a bit much,” But they said, “We’ve got this actor we really love named Wayne Stamps and we think he’d be great against you,” and he played Moe. So I played myself and MaDude, and just played off Wayne, and Wayne is so funny. I was like, “Oh, I gotta be on my toes.” Whenever I did the scenes with Taylor as MaDude, I’d have my stand-in come in and he’d read lines with me. We’d crack jokes and then I’d switch and take the wig off and run to change. I’d never done anything like that before and I started thinking about Eddie Murphy in Nutty Professor and Coming to America and how cool it would be to get a chance to do all of these different characters.

Kevin Daniels Headshot

Kevin Daniels

Aaron Fallon

There are lot of surprise cameos in this film. Who did you have the most fun with on set?

Everything that Tisha Campbell did, she just came with it. She was hilarious. Martin was my shit, and we’re a small budget movie, and we’re down in Savannah and they’ve got like one good trailer. So when they said, “Tisha Campbell is here today,” I said, “Y’all better put Tisha Campbell in my trailer. I’ll take this little room in the church.”

Kyla [Pratt] and I got on like we had known each other forever. We just cracked jokes about everybody—and the lack of resources for the budget. And then I remember that scene with her because in the original script, MaDude wasn’t in that storyline as much. And I was like, “Look, you’ve got Kyla Pratt in this movie, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to be in a scene with Kyla Pratt.” So I got them to dress me up, and that entire scene about the letter and all of that was improv. I was proud of that.

Do you think the spoof comedy genre can have a resurgence in this comedic climate?

Absolutely. There’s an appetite for it. Those movies are really funny, especially if you know the source material. It makes you want to go back and watch the other movies.

Have you heard of any response from Tyler Perry? How do you think he might react?

I have not heard anything outright. I hope that he gets the joke because, really, we can only make these movies because he has an empire, because he’s done so much, and such a prolific amount in Black cinema. My dream is that we could do a MaDude and Madea movie together, or at least an appearance.

You’ve had a very diverse career between Broadway and dramas and police procedurals on TV. Is comedy where you’re most comfortable?

I’ve been really fortunate and blessed with my career. I tell people that I’m like a 30-year overnight success story. I’ve been here for a minute, but it’s okay. Bit by bit. I did a lot of drama in New York. I went to Juilliard, and one of my first roles was a Law & Order episode. And then I moved to L.A., and I met this casting director, Jeff Greenberg, who asked me had I thought about comedy, and he put me in my first sitcom. I was like a doorman or something on Baby Bob, and I did a few of those and then I ended up getting my first series regular for this comedy the Farrelly brothers were directing called I’m with Stupid. It was a pilot for NBC, I was the lead, and I was like, “Oh, it’s gonna be great.” Then there was a writers strike, it didn’t get it picked up, and I worked at the Cheesecake Factory. But I’ve had a lot of fun with comedy now because I realized you have to have great drama for comedy. Life is funny in itself and you better laugh about it.

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