QED has packaged an adaptation of I, Alex Cross, the James Patterson novel that is essentially a reboot of the James Patterson mystery series that starred Morgan Freeman as the detective/psychologist based in D.C. Tyler Perry will headline this version, and Rob Cohen will direct. Distributors are circling the project right now. In fact, Paramount, which distributed the Cross mysteries Kiss the Girls and Along Came A Spider, is interested in taking the project off the table. It will be interesting to see if Lionsgate steps up after Perry has consistently turned in winners for the minimajor, which collects a distribution fee on pictures that Perry owns. The Alex Cross reboot was originally conceived as a vehicle for actor Idris Elba, who was going to play the character in the novel Cross, with David Twohy directing. Perry became the lead in recent weeks. It’s likely to be a controversial choice, and the key will be whether Perry can bring the considerable following that follow his directing vehicles. His biggest successes came when Perry played the female alter ego, the stereotypical matriarch Madea.

He last directed For Colored Girls, an adaptation of the iconic 1975 play by Ntozake Shange. His movies usually have a strong female following, and the Cross mysteries are action mystery which appeals to a male viewing audience. It is a radical departure for Perry, who usually stars in the films he writes and directs (Star Trek was an exception). Lionsgate recently acquired Take My Wife, a comedy that will star Perry and Dwayne Johnson. Cohen is an interesting choice as director, and has a franchise track record: he launched both the XxX and The Fast and the Furious franchises. I’m told that the plan is for Perry to star in a trilogy. QED partners Bill Block and Paul Hanson will produce. WME reps both Perry and Cohen.