After a drawn-out battle, Summit Entertainment has won out over three other distributers for the rights to I, Alex Cross, Deadline reports. The reboot, based on James Patterson’s bestselling book franchise, will star Tyler Perry as the main character, replacing Morgan Freeman, who starred previously in the 1997 Kiss The Girls and 2001’s Along Came A Spider.
Summit’s victory was surely surprising to some, as Lionsgate has had a long history of working with Perry, having released all of his past Madea films. But Summit, which has already risen in the ranks thanks to the success of its Twilight franchise, had an ace up its sleeve with CEO Rob Friedman, who was personally involved with both Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider, and has a relationship with the series’ author.
But all the fuss over the distribution rights is somewhat confusing in light of Tyler Perry’s casting. The director best known for his poorly acclaimed (but high grossing) Madea films — of which there are a half-dozen — has infrequently stepped out of Madea’s drag onscreen. Perry’s only role in a movie he hasn’t directed or produced was a bit part in 2009’s Star Trek as “Admiral Barnett.” And Perry is nowhere near as camera-friendly as British actor Idris Elba, who was originally set to play Cross in the reboot, nor as charismatic as Morgan Freeman. He is not exactly “leading man” material.
In a less eye-raising development, Lost‘s Matthew Fox has been confirmed as co-star Michael Sullivan, the serial killer who kills Cross’s wife and becomes his arch-nemesis. Ed Burns will play Cross’s partner Tommy Kane.
Production is set to begin August 8 ahead of a late 2012 release.