Idris Elba out, Tyler Perry in as Patterson’s Alex Cross.

My, how things change.

Last August, actor Idris Elba (aka Stringer Bell of THE WIRE, THE LOSERS) was slated to play Dr. Alex Cross, the bestselling creation of James Patterson, in a new film. David Twohy (PITCH BLACK, A PERFECT GETAWAY) was to write and direct.

Now Deadline is reporting that Tyler Perry is to play Cross and Rob Cohen (THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, XXX) will be directing I, ALEX CROSS.

You can’t run

Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington’s wildest scenes. And she was not this killer’s only victim.

You can’t hide

The hunt for the murderer leads Alex and his girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, to a place where every fantasy is possible, if you have the credentials to get in. Alex and Bree are soon facing down some very important, very protected, very dangerous people in levels of society where only one thing is certain—they will do anything to keep their secrets safe.
Alex Cross is your only hope to stay alive

As Alex closes in on the killer, he discovers evidence that points to the unimaginable—a revelation that could rock the entire world. With the unstoppable action, unforeseeable twists, and edge-of-your-seat suspense that only a James Patterson thriller delivers, I, Alex Cross is the master of suspense at his sharpest and best.

Perry is best known for his Madea films and this is certainly a departure from those. While much of my interest just died, Perry could bring a sizable audience to this project and has a very impressive box office track record. If his niche audience follows him and this can garner some mainstream viewers, it could be a huge hit.

Cohen’s presence makes less sense to me. He has had only a few successful films and has not exactly been setting the film world on fire in the last several years. I just don’t see what he brings to this either creatively or commercially. Despite it’s success, I thought XXX was a loud mess. I did enjoy THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and also thought his telefilm THE RAT PACK was decent, but that was mainly because of good performances by Don Cheadle, Ray Liotta and Joe Mantegna.