Madea may be quite a character. But, her friends are even as vibrant and funny as Madea.
Cassi Davis returns to play Aunt Bam for BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN and the play MADEA ON THE RUN. Both are available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download today.
In TYLER PERRYâ€™S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN, it tells the story of Madea being summoned to keep a watchful eye on Brianâ€™s teenage daughter and keep her out of trouble. Little does Madea know, the trouble is coming for her. Fortunately, or not, she has a posse of Bam, Hattie and Joe to shield off ghosts and killer clowns.
TYLER PERRYâ€™S MADEA ON THE RUN (THE PLAY) was a nine-month nationwide tour. On the run from the law, Madea hides out at Bamâ€™s house, thinking she will lie low. Unfortunately, Bamâ€™s house is packed with rambunctious family and friends, and Madea finds herself needing to lay down her own law and drop the hammer!
LRM had an exclusive phone interview with Cassi Davis, the actress who played Aunt Bam in both TYLER PERRYâ€™S BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN and TYLER PERRYâ€™S MADEA ON THE RUN (THE PLAY). We talked about working with Tyler Perry and his magic with Madea, the originations of Aunt Bam and being on film versus on stage.
Read the full interview transcript below.
LRM: How does it feel to be back again to play Aunt Bam again for Tyler Perryâ€™s BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN and the play MADEA ON THE RUN?
Cassi Davis: Itâ€™s all good. I never want it to stop. I donâ€™t look at it as to be back again. I look at it as a continuation. Thank you, God! I expect these characters, especially Aunt Bam, to go on and on and one and never die. She lives forever. And I wait forever for another phone call. [Laughter]
Iâ€™m excited. Itâ€™s always a treat. Are you kidding me? Tyler Perry is brilliant. Itâ€™s wonderful to work beside him. I love to watch his magic and he allows me to create. Itâ€™s great, Gig. Iâ€™m having a great time. I donâ€™t have any complaints.
LRM: What do you think is so special about this character, Aunt Bam, that makes the audiences enjoy her and you enjoy her?
Cassi Davis: Well, Iâ€™m going to tell you. Sheâ€™s wise and sheâ€™s fun. She loves life. Sheâ€™s in everybodyâ€™s household. Sheâ€™s in everybodyâ€™s family. Everybody has that Aunt Bam. Aunt Bam is fun and you could go over to her house. You donâ€™t know what you may run into. Sheâ€™s so smart. She was a school teacher, a music teacher. Sheâ€™s in the neighborhood. She knows all the children. She knows the childrenâ€™s parents.
I have this fun creating this jovial, older matriarch for the neighborhood. She has two children. Youâ€™ll never see those kids since theyâ€™re grown now. Sheis a community service type of person. She just loves young people. It keeps her young. She is always trying to relate to the younger generation.
The younger people keeps her laughing. She loves life. Laughter is the Bibleâ€™s business. Itâ€™s the medicine for the soul. You can always find laughter even in a mundane situation. Thatâ€™s what she doesâ€”she lives for laughter.
LRM: Tell me on how this character originated. How did it all start? Did it happen years ago with MADEAâ€™S BIG HAPPY FAMILY?
Cassi Davis: Thatâ€™s when she was first shown on the screen. Aunt Bam has lived since 1998. Tyler met her around 2004. She lived with me. She was a voice at first. It was this old womanâ€™s voice. I played her and spoke with her to Tyler in her voice. He said, â€œWe gotta use her. We gotta bring her to life.â€ I said, â€œOkay. Sheâ€™s gonna have to be one of Madeaâ€™s friends.â€
She is feistyâ€”just like Madea. She can boost Madea to do more of those Madea things. She lives. She was born really back in 1998. Tyler met her much, much later.
LRM: If sheâ€™s been around for 18-19 years nowâ€”we have BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN and MADEA ON THE RUNâ€”how do you think she has evolved for almost two decades now?
Cassi Davis: Oh, my goodness! She definitely has kept her figure and her age under wraps. She lives vicariously through Madea. Tyler had her in AUNT BAMâ€™S PLACE, itâ€™s another play. She was also in A MADEA CHRISTMAS. She has done a lot with Madea. She has appeared on screen nearly five years ago.
Sheâ€™s evolving. Every time he does another movie, there is more revealed about her. The last time, [it was revealed] she had hip surgery. She gets to live her life through the eyes of Madea. She has a lot more life to live. I expect her to be showing up some more!
LRM: Does Tyler give you a lot of freedom with this character? Basically in the terms of developments and choices that Aunt Bam would make.
Cassi Davis: Iâ€™m going to say thisâ€”Tyler loves Aunt Bam. He really does capture her in his writing. He may allow me to add a couple of things, but for the most partâ€”he captures her. It is scripted. She plays alongside Madea and Hattie, who Patrice Lovely plays. And she is lovely by the way. [Chuckles]
She is penned very well for his brand of work. He loves her. He enjoys her humor. Sometimes I may be able to slip one in there honestly. Heâ€™ll respond, â€œKeep it! Keep it! Keep it! Keep it!â€ And usually, when I try it then he likes it.
LRM: Are you personally a script person or you enjoy to adlib along with him?
Cassi Davis: With Tyler, Iâ€™m both. Usually, Iâ€™m a script person. Since Tyler, himself, is so much fun, we are always in that moment and he trusts me. If there is something that tickles him, I will try it. Sometimes Iâ€™m in that costumeâ€”so if I can make Tyler Perry laughâ€”he is the guru for laughter. Iâ€™m doing very well.
I basically like to stick to the script. But, when he is there, he allows me to punch up just a little bit. If you get BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN, youâ€™ll see in this Blu-ray in the captions afterwards that Iâ€™ll be saying, â€œCould you please stick to the script?â€ [Laughter] It gets to be so much fun on the set, if he allows it, itâ€™ll be a whole another movie. [Laughter]
LRM: You also have a play coming out on Blu-ray. How different is this? Do you also have this much fun doing it like on film?
Cassi Davis: Both of the medium mean a lot to me. I prefer the theater, because Iâ€™m a theater baby. I love the live reactions. I love the fever that is in the room from many, many, many walks of life. Everybody is laughing at the same time. Everybody is crying at the same time.
You can get 15,000 to 20,000 people that would go â€œAwwwww!!!!â€ all at the same time. Or even â€œHahahahhaha!â€ at the same time. That is just so magical to me. I like both of them.
As for MADEA ON THE RUN, it was a play that evolved a year and a half ago. Iâ€™m excited to get it on Blu-ray too. I want to see on what they captured. I think when they filmed this, we were in New Orleans and the three months after that. By the time he finished the run of the show, we were like, â€œCan we film this again? Thereâ€™s so much more!â€
It continues to grow. It continues to develop. It continues to have a life of its own. If we go back with MADEA ON THE RUN, we could be like [gasps] and be like a new show. You allow so many other things to take place. He very fun to work withâ€”really.