‘Maxine’s Baby’ directors say 10 years of filmmaking helped Tyler Perry to “trust and let go”

Making a movie about the life and career of someone like Tyler Perry, a film and TV mastermind who’s achieved great success stemming from his groundbreaking Madea stage plays, could be a difficult task. 

But for the filmmakers of Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story, it wasn’t as much a feat as it was an honor to chronicle his ascent to Hollywood fame amid adversity and exclusion. Directors Gelila Bekele and Armani Ortiz explained to ABC Audio that the decade they spent closely following Perry and carefully putting the film together was necessary in getting him to “trust and let go.”  

“I think vulnerability really depends on the landing pad,” Bekele said of Perry’s faith in her and Ortiz. “And 10 years sort of gives you the patience, and the room and time to let a story sort of guide you.”

Noting it was “very intimidating to paint the painter, someone who’s achieved so much,” Bekele said her small but mighty crew practiced the most gently aggressive approach of filming Perry’s every move. 

Throughout the process, Perry became really busy with work — touring, writing, producing and opening his state-of-the-art, army base-turned studio.

The 10 years, however, also allowed for an “organic” story that Ortiz said began to unfold, capturing the close bond between Perry and his late mother, Maxine

As for their wishes for the film, Ortiz said he hopes viewers take away the theme that “everything begins and ends with love.”

Because, as Ortiz put it, “Love is the thing that was our North Star guiding compass to Maxine’s Baby.” (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)

Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video starting November 17.

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