Tyler Perry, Michael Jai White, Malik Yoba and Richard-T Jones © Lionsgate

In 2007 writer/director/producer/actor Tyler Perry brought to the screen Why Did I Get Married? It examined the relationships of four couples on vacation together in Colorado. Perry now brings the next chapter in the lives of these eight colorful characters, exploring what it takes to keep a relationship alive for a lifetime.

It’s the first time Perry has ever brought an entire cast back in a continuing story, which is something he spoke about at the press day for the movie in New York City.

What inspired you to bring this cast of characters back again?

Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson © Lionsgate

I wrote this because this was the only group of characters that I’ve written that I felt they had more to say.

I just loved working with this cast, I loved working with this team, so I wanted to come back together with them and recreate the fun we had on the first film.

So that was what it was about more than anything, the feeling that the characters had more to say.

You paint variations of marriage in this film, why was it important to do that?

Louis Gossett Jr and Cicely Tyson © Lionsgate

I just think there are so many stories that we have to tell that have not been told.  Again, listening to these characters, I feel like there’s so much more that they wanted to say, and even now watching it last night I felt like there’s still more that they want to say.

What blows my mind is when people say, ‘This is something I’m going through right now. We were having trouble in our relationship, but we saw (your film), we went home, we cried together, we prayed about it, we worked it out.’ Those kind of moments, that’s what matters to me more than anything else, and to have millions of people go and see a film and have it affect them in that way, that’s beyond what anyone can say about it negatively, it’s above it, it’s beyond it.

It’s so important to me to make sure that whatever (the characters are) saying stays true to the voice that I’m hearing coming through me that is unfiltered, that nobody’s hindering it, that nobody is watering it down or making it something that it shouldn’t be. It comes raw to me and it comes out raw to the audience. I love it when people get it and it resonates with them.

At what point do you know when to make a film funny or make it serious?

Janet Jackson and Malik Yoba © Lionsgate

I just write it the way life happens. I know critics have a problem with it because my comedies are all over the place and my dramas are schizophrenic, as if I don’t know that. I write just from the way it comes from me.

It’s not that I’m trying to follow a formula, and any time somebody tries to get outside of the box there’s an issue, but I live my life outside of the box, because when I die they’re going to put me in one. So what I try to do with the film is make sure there’s a balance.

Is it your hope to show audiences how to prevail in any relationship?

Sharon Leal and Tyler Perry © Lionsgate

(Yes). What does it really matter if you’re having this argument or that argument in the big scheme of things? What if you lost the person that you really love and that you were arguing with, and never got the chance to tell them how much you did care? We have to appreciate our relationships every day because tomorrow isn’t promised.

My mother died on December 8th and I was looking at some pictures of her from 2006 and I asked myself if somebody in 2006 had told me she was going to die on December 8, 2009, is there anything that I would have done differently? And the greatest gift, and the thing that gave me the most peace, is that I could honestly say there’s not one thing I would have done differently.

What other stories do you want to tell people?

Why did I Get Married Too – Poster © Lionsgate

Right now I’m on tour with a show that’s dealing with death and grief and healing, so as experience things in my life I write about them, so that’s probably what the next movie will be about.

What speaks to me I’m finding is what speaks to millions of other people and they respond to it. And as long as I get to show (the African-American experience), how we are and who we are in all shades and all colors and all sizes of us, I’m really inspired by that. I think that it teaches us and shows us as a people, and it shows our children that we are okay, no matter what anyone else says, we are strong, we are powerful.

I’m just trying to represent us in a way that when our children see us they are proud of it.

Why Did I Get Married Too? has a US and Canada release today, April 2nd, 2010

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter. More by Judy Sloane