Any actors trying to get the attention of writer-producer-director (and let’s not forget star of umpteen ‘Madea” movies) Tyler Perry would do well to take a peek at a recent photo he shared on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Perry, 49, tweeted a photo of a billboard rented by actress Racquel Bailey, informing him that she “is your next leading lady.”
The billboard did indeed grab Perry’s attention — but not in a good way.
Linking to a message on his Facebook page, Perry points out that this “is the third time that someone has done this,” telling actors, “This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows.”
Perry continues: “I love that you want to work with me, and I love that you invest in yourself. But when you do things like this it puts my team on high alert and makes me look at you sideways. I know the message that you want to send is a positive one, but this comes across as the opposite.”
The best way to land a role in a Tyler Perry production, he explains, is to “JUST COME AND AUDITION.”
As it turned out, Perry was already aware of Bailey’s work, telling her she was “great” in recent HBO miniseries “The Night Of”, which he singled out as a recent favourite.
“I ALREADY SAW YOU!!” he adds. “So just audition and keep your money!!”
Perry ended on a positive note. “God bless you dreamer,” he writes. “I have no doubt you will make it one day!!”
On Thursday, Bailey responded to Perry’s message. “It didn’t make me feel rainbows and butterflies,” she told Entertainment Weekly, revealing she tried the same tactic seven years ago, unsucessfully.
“When I decided to do this, I didn’t know what the response would be,” she said. “Last time, I didn’t get any response from him and I wasn’t expecting really much out of this time as well, but I had to take a chance.”
Telling EW that she also rented a second billboard, with both combined costing her about $2,000, Bailey explained her motivation.
“This decision to put up a billboard, though it was directed at Tyler Perry, it wasn’t motivated by him,” she continued. “I have two beautiful children whom I love to take care of and that is my day-to-day job. I want to show them to go after their dreams, more so than tell them.”
The billboard, she added, were also intended to inspire her children. “When [my son] gets ready to go for football tryouts, when he’s getting ready to try out for rugby or the school play, he will remember that his mom got told a ‘no’ and she still went out for it. That means more to me more than anything, more than getting a role, more than a booking, more than Tyler Perry’s approval.”
While she may not have received the desired response from Perry, she told EW that representatives from his studio saw her billboard, and invited her to audition.
Bailey also offered this response on Instagram: