Lionsgate taps Tyler Perry for 'Rainbow'

Lionsgate has tapped Tyler Perry to write, direct and produce an adaptation of the 1975 play "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf."

The mini-major said Thursday that it had acquired worldwide distribution rights to the pic, the first project for Perry's 34th Street Films production company, housed at Lionsgate. Paul Hall ("Pride") is also producing.

"For Colored Girls" will begin shooting in Atlanta in November, with Lionsgate planning a release next year. The play is a series of 20 poems telling stories of love, abandonment, domestic abuse and other issues faced by black women.

Lionsgate noted the project's the 10th title in its ongoing franchise with Perry, and Perry's first film to be based on non-original source material. "Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself" opens Sept. 11, and "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too?" is set to open April 2.

Perry is also a co-presenter and exec producer of Lee Daniels' Sundance winner "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," which Lionsgate is releasing in November.

Lionsgate announced in March that it had acquired the feature rights to the stage play and signed music video director Nzingha Stewart to helm from her screenplay adaptation.

"For Colored Girls," written by Ntozake Shange, was first performed in 1975; it was made into a 1982 telepic with Shange, Laurie Carlos, Trazana Beverly, Alfre Woodard and Lynn Whitfield for PBS' "American Playhouse" banner. A Broadway revival, produced by Whoopi Goldberg and starring India.Arie, was announced for the 2008-09 season but got yanked last summer when funding fell through.

Peter Oberth
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