Christian mogul Tyler Perry christens new studio with help of friends, Pastor Shirley Caesar says 'God is using him'
ATLANTA (AP) — Tyler Perry officially christened his massive new film studio Saturday, beaming as his fellow entertainment industry luminaries descended on Atlanta and strode a red carpet to his sprawling complex for an opening gala.
The attendees warmly greeted Perry, a Christian mogul who had once been homeless and yet now helms his own studio, one of the nation’s largest.
The star-studded unveiling of his 330-acre studio, where some big projects have already been filmed including his “Madea” films along with AMC’s “Walking Dead” and Marvel’s blockbuster hit “Black Panther,” was the stuff dreams are made of.
The filmmaker built the studio on a former Army base called Fort McPherson, which is south of downtown Atlanta, after purchasing the land in 2015.
“I think it’s pivotal in everything that we’ve done, everything that we’re doing still, that we continue to try to motivate and inspire people,” Perry told The Associated Press as he shook hands with well-wishers.
“God is using him, not only in Atlanta, not only in the state of Georgia, but in all of the United States and the world,” said Pastor Shirley Caesar in a red carpet interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “His life is a legacy, and it is showing these other young men that it is no secret what God can do.”
And there were plenty there to congratulate him. Oprah Winfrey, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Spike Lee, Cicely Tyson, Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry and others all helped Perry christen his new facility, a 330-acre (134-hectare) studio that once served as a Confederate army base.
Winfrey praised Perry and told the AP the new studio head is a force to be reckoned with.
“I remember when he was thinking about buying this place and I said, ‘You’d be crazy not to take it.,” she added.
Samuel L. Jackson pointed to Perry’s vision as the key to his ascent.
“This is more about Tyler the entrepreneur. The visionary. A guy who understands that ownership means that you can do what you want,” Jackson said as he paused along the red carpet.
“When I came here in 1992, I came with a dream,” Perry said in a recent interview. “I’m looking at everything I’ve dreamed and more to come to pass. It just reminds me. I just thought this was the Promised Land and that sign reminded me of that every time I pass it. The studio is a reminder as well.”
Perry said his sprawling studio rivals other major Hollywood studios including Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures. It’s considered one of the largest production studios in the country with 12 soundstages, 40 buildings on-site that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and more than 200 acres of green space.