Tyler Perry Replaces Morgan Freeman As Alex Cross

Just when you thought Tyler Perry’s screen talents were limited to penning tragic tales of “The Black Experience” and packin’ heat as pistol-totin’ granny Madea, the actor/director/philanthropist goes and gets himself cast as the new Alex Cross!

The man behind urban cinema hits like Why Did I Get Married? and Madea’s Family Reunion is stepping into the gumshoes of Oscar winner Morgan Freeman after signing on to play Cross — James Patterson’s case-cracking detective psychologist — in an upcoming sequel to 2001’s Along Came a Spider. Perry’s been cast in a still-untitled film that will be directed by Rob Cohen, whose credits include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Hollywood Reporter said overnight.

Freeman originated the Cross role in 1997’s Kiss the Girls. Idris Elba, who has sparked a racially-charged controversy over his casting in the superhero epic Thor, had been on board to portray the detective in an independent film from David Twohy, but that deal film through when the movie was shelved, paving the way for the Perry casting.

The thoughtful and attentive Alex Cross debuted in the 1993 novel Along Came a Spider, the first publication from crime writer Patterson. His 18th novel featuring the character will be released later this year. Tyler, it seems, is also keep an acting work schedule. He’ll release his latest African-American horror story Madea film, Madea’s Big Happy Family, this April.

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