Discuss as:

Tyler Perry wouldn't tap Morgan Freeman for 'Alex Cross': 'How do you call God' for tips?

You don't have to remind Tyler Perry that the character of Alex Cross has been played by another actor before -- he's well aware of Morgan Freeman's performances in "Along Came a Spider" and "Kiss the Girls." But, noted Perry, he's a little intimidated by Freeman's former role as a deity.

"One thing that gave me pause was Morgan Freeman; I mean, he played God in a movie!" cried Perry during a chat with TODAY's Savannah Guthrie Wednesday. "You never go behind God in a movie. But once I realized I had to do the best Tyler Perry that I can playing Alex Cross, I let go and it worked out very well."

He did not call Freeman for tips, either -- based on that very fact. "The man played God," said Perry. "How do you call God and say 'Can you give me pointers?' No, I didn't call him about it."

Which meant the director/producer/actor, who kept his skills to just acting in "Alex Cross," had to figure out his character on his own. The tough cop is going after a serial killer who takes a personal interest in Cross' life, which meant Perry -- who is more often than not seen on screen as the hefty, wise Madea -- had a lot of action to prepare for. As he explained, he lost 30 pounds training for the role by learning Krav Maga, the self-defense program of the Israeli Defense Forces. 

"It's a kick-ass workout," he said. "Can I say 'ass' this early in the morning?"

Well, when you're Tyler Perry, you can do just about anything you like. 

"Alex Cross" opens in theaters on Friday, Oct. 19.

Related content: