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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

America Moves Forward; Tyler Perry, King of Hollywood

Aired November 11, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, how the vote was won. President Obama's main man, David Axelrod and what America needs now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: I hope that coming out of this election people will come with a renewed sense of cooperation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And what he thinks is wrong with the GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AXELROD: The center of gravity has shifted so far to the right that they're way out of the mainstream.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And Tyler Perry is not just an extraordinarily successful writer, director, actor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Got a word with my friend Oprah about how --

TYLER PERRY, ACTOR, DIRECTOR, STUDIO OWNER: Absolutely. She told me you're the best interviewer in the world. So I'm very, very worried.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: He's also an entrepreneur with his own movie studio. A man whose films had grossed over $600 million.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: To make that type of money means that I get to reinvest in what I do and I'm able to hire a lot more people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And a man who wear a dress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Did you think one day you'd be world famous for cross- dressing?

PERRY: No. Never in a -- never in a million years. Even the first time I did it I never thought that it would -- it would last as long as it did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Tyler Perry, an all-American success story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: The greatest gift in my life was what my audience has given me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening, an extraordinary week for America. A hard fought election won and the president beginning the work of a second term. This is Barack Obama's election night speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not as divided as our politics suggests. We are not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together, with your help and God's grace, we will continue our journey forward, and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Joining me now, the man who argued he did more than almost anybody else to help President Obama won a second term. His top strategist, David Axelrod.

David, you must be feeling pretty chaffed.

AXELROD: Yes. It was a great night, Piers. Just to be in that room at McCormick Place with that crowd and the sense of joy and idealism and patriotism, frankly, that was evident in that room, and then today, the president came by the campaign headquarters and spoke to the young volunteers -- not volunteers but staff. And it was a very moving, a moving encounter.

MORGAN: When was the moment -- if you're honest -- that you thought we've got this? It's all going to plan?

AXELROD: You know, when the votes started getting counted we knew pretty quickly we have -- you know, we have a fairly sophisticated model. We have projections. We knew when we were hitting our targets and our folks were very skilled and when they saw the votes started -- the votes coming in, in Ohio and Virginia -- first it was Virginia, and then in Florida, there was a sense that this could be an earlier evening than we thought.

MORGAN: We looked at the demographics that have come out from all the polling last night. Pretty much across the board you guys had a very good night on women, independence, you know, younger people. African- Americans, Latinos, Asians. It was a pretty big sweeping area of people coming in to vote again for you, guys.

Were you pleased about the level of the turnout?

AXELROD: Absolutely. And the breath of it. You know, the question that was being raised on the other side was whether the Obama coalition that served him so well in 2008 would come out again and -- so one of the things we saw very early and even before the polls closed when, you know, just looking at the turnout was that we were getting strong turnout among the very groups you were talking about. And it was -- that was encouraging.

MORGAN: The inevitable inquest has stated into why the Republicans lost. If you were putting your strategist's hat on and looking at their campaign, where do you think they really, in the end, lost it?

AXELROD: Look, I think the problem for the Republican Party is that the center of gravity has shifted so far to the right that they're way out of the mainstream. The positions that Governor Romney took in the primary on immigration reform, the position that he took on women's health issues and contraception and Planned Parenthood, drove large numbers of voters away from them. And then on economics, which is central to this election. They had a -- they had a theory that frankly was not a popular theory in the country which is that, you know, if we go back to tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation that that would profit everyone.

And then for Romney himself, there were specific things that he did. I think that the decision in the final week to try and litigate the auto bailout again in Ohio had a tremendously negative impact there and perhaps beyond Ohio. So, you know, in the final analysis, there are a lot of factors here, but in the short term that was a very bad decision, in my view.

MORGAN: People are looking at -- to what happened and saying look, the Senate remains with the Democrats, the House remains with the Republicans. You know, Barack Obama has been re-elected, not much changed. How can we expect the Washington machine that many see as being fractured if not paralyzed to somehow regenerate itself now and get stuff done.

Speaker Boehner has come out today said, you know, come on, Mr. President, let's get some stuff going here. But how much of the responsibility lies with him, with Speaker Boehner, do you think?

AXELROD: Well, I think that he certainly bears some -- people want cooperation on both sides. The issue at hand, of course, is going to be the fiscal cliff and our -- and our budgetary situation. The president has put a proposal forward. It's incumbent on the speaker to say what they'd be willing to do and not simply say it's not our responsibility.

I think people expect everyone to live up to their responsibilities. And, you know, one thing that is clear as I moved around the country with the president is they're hungry for that kind of cooperation. I hope that coming out of this election people will come with a renewed sense of cooperation because it will take that to solve problems.

Let me just say one other thing, though. You mentioned that not much has changed. Actually what's interesting is you have these super PACs spending literally billions of dollars, billions of dollars to defeat the president and to defeat Democrats running for Congress. Well, the president was re-elected, you have more Democrats in the Senate than you did before, more Democrats in the House than you did before.

And one heartening thing to me in this election is that the special interests and billionaires spent all this money and got nowhere with it. And hopefully that will discourage the kind of obscene spending that we saw in this election because it plainly didn't work.

MORGAN: Obviously you've got as many people vote on Twitter, I was watching it last night, the reaction, a second chance many people see it to perhaps be bolder, be braver than you were able perhaps to be in the first term. There are parallels to the most popular modern presidents, being Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom had pretty rough first terms, then they had very successful economies for their second term. And that emboldened them to be much braver perhaps than they might have been.

Are you hoping you're going to get the kind of economic security if not prosperity in this term that will allow you to do perhaps the things Barack Obama, when he sailed in on hope and change, hoped he could do?

AXELROD: Well, Piers, I do believe the economy is improving, but I want to challenge a bit of your premise because one of the reasons the economy is improving is because this president was brave. It was brave to intervene to save the American auto industry, which was not a popular decision at the time.

It was brave to move forward on the Recovery Act, which was not popular at the time, and still is the source of controversy, because without that we would have slid into a second great depression.

It was brave to stand up the American financial industry when it was on the brink of collapse. Even though that was an unpopular thing to do because he understood that we needed to do these things to move the economy forward. And now we're reaping the benefits of that bravery and those good decisions, because the economy is improving, and I do believe that gives us a chance to move forward on a series of fronts to further strengthen our economy for the short term and the long term and strengthen the middle class.

We're not losing 800,000 jobs a month anymore. We're gaining jobs. And that foundation that's been laid is a foundation on which we can build progress.

MORGAN: And two very quick last questions. One is, I understand that the first person the president called after knowing that he won was Bill Clinton, is that right?

AXELROD: Exactly. Yes.

MORGAN: Does he --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Does he feel a big debt of gratitude to him?

AXELROD: Well, there's no question about it. As he said to President Clinton, he was the most valuable player in this campaign. He -- and you know, we got a chance to spend some time with President Clinton over the weekend. He just campaigned his heart out. And he was -- because he believes that there were two choices here and one led us forward and one led us back. And he was very effective out there.

And so there is a strong sense of gratitude and I think the president is looking forward to calling on President Clinton in the future for advice council and assistance as we want -- as we move this country forward.

MORGAN: And secondly, that the biggest tragedy of the whole evening for many of us was the fact that your mustache gets to stay on.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Are you a relieved man this morning?

AXELROD: Well, I know this has been the subject of a lot of discussion. I will say that when I made the bet, the bet was if we lost Pennsylvania, Michigan or Minnesota, I would shave off my mustache. I did it with complete confidence that this mustache, which has been appended to my face for 40 years, was going nowhere.

So I'm very -- I was confident then. I was pleased that I was right. But you know sometimes you just have to take a stand and that -- and I did on that one.

MORGAN: Well, courage has always been your byword, Mr. Axelrod. Congratulations on a brilliant campaign. I know a lot of this was down to you.

AXELROD: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: And the team. It was a master class on how to win an election. Well done.

AXELROD: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: When we come back, an all-American success story. Tyler Perry. The man behind the empire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: We're back now with a one-man entertainment empire, Tyler Perry.

Tyler, you weren't called Tyler Perry as a boy. You were born Emmitt Perry, Jr. You changed your name, you said, to distance yourself from your father, who -- let's be honest -- he sounds pretty brutal. He used to beat you relentlessly as a young man, which must have had an effect on you.

PERRY: Yes, well, of course, it -- of course it did. But, you know, I was able to forgive him in my -- in my mid-20s. And that changed my life, because what I did was -- what I think a lot of people don't realize or understand is that their parents have a story, too.

Now -- and so whatever happened in your life because of them is may -- you really need to find out the story so that you can understand it. And what I found about he and his sister and his brother, they were all found by a white man in rural Louisiana, in a ditch. He was 2 years old at the time. He was brought to a 14 -year-old woman named May (ph) to raise. Her father was bedridden, a very old man, who was a slave.

And everything that she knew to do to get these children to behave was to beat them. She would tie them in a potato sack, hang them in a tree and she would beat them. So that's what this -- that's what he knew. That's what he came from.

MORGAN: He's been abused?

PERRY: Abused his entire life. You know, a third grade education.

MORGAN: How did you find this out?

PERRY: I found it out by asking questions, finally, of him, because I was talking to him --

MORGAN: So he told you?

PERRY: He told me a lot about it. And my aunts told me about it and other people in the town, the small town in Louisiana where he grew up, they told me about the story. So it helped me to understand a lot of who he is, which was -- which made it easier for me to let go and forgive him.

MORGAN: Hard to forgive, though.

PERRY: It is, it is, but it's very necessary, because what I found that is this -- and this is so true. If you don't forgive, you hold on to this thing inside of you that can change your life for the -- and take you in the wrong direction. Nine times out of 10, the people that have done things to you are asleep and at peace and you're holding onto it. And it be -- it can really literally become sickness in your body and make you physically ill. So I think that forgiveness is beyond important.

MORGAN: Is he still alive, your father?

PERRY: Yes, he's still alive.

MORGAN: And what kind of relationship do you have with him?

PERRY: We don't speak very much, but I am taking care of him. I make sure he has everything he needs.

MORGAN: You support him?

PERRY: Absolutely, 100 percent. As a child, he wasn't a great father, but he was a great provider and he had an incredible work ethic. So he definitely gave me my work ethic.

MORGAN: Do you think despite the way that he manhandled you and beat you and so on, did you feel that he loved you?

PERRY: No, I never felt that. I never felt that. I felt very strongly that there was something there and I didn't know what it was. And when I was about 30, my mother told me he never thought that I was his child. So --

MORGAN: Really?

PERRY: So that was another thing I didn't know, which caused a lot of issues, as well.

MORGAN: Did you have that out with him?

PERRY: I did, about four years ago I asked, why. And all he could tell me through his tears was you -- he -- this is what he said, "You don't know what happened to me," which clearly made me stop and go, you know what, I don't. But that doesn't justify what you did. But I will take that and I will try and consider it and understand it and make it work for the better of both of us and this relationship as father and son.

MORGAN: Is he proud of you for what you've achieved.

PERRY: I think so because he -- in any situation he's in tears. Everything that happens he's -- he cries. Every --

MORGAN: Is that guilt, do you think?

PERRY: Every award -- and listen, that's exactly what I thought very early on. Every award, every situation, every time you see it, after one of my films, or something, or come to one of the shows, there would be tears. And I always thought it was tremendous guilt.

MORGAN: Has he ever said sorry?

PERRY: No, he hasn't. He hasn't. Yes.

MORGAN: Would you like him to?

PERRY: At this point, I don't know if it matters. I really don't know if it matters, because I really have -- I really am done with it. So I don't know if it matters if he said he was sorry.

MORGAN: By contrast, you have this amazing relationship with your mother.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Who sounds a fabulous woman.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: And sadly died a few years ago. But tell me about her.

PERRY: She was, again, born in the same little small town. Her mother died when she was 13 years old. She met my father when she was 17. He would come and visit her every week. And he'd show up in these new Cadillacs and Buicks. And she thought he was rich and he was going to take her to live on his cattle ranch in Texas. This is what he told her.

They get married. She goes down to New Orleans. They end up in a juke joint for 12 hours looking for a place to live. She had no idea. So she left my grandfather and moved in with him and her sole support was my father. So that's all she knew. All she knew was to -- she would go to my aunts and say, you know, we're having trouble. He -- where he's fighting me, he's hitting me. What should I do? And they would say stay with that man, he's good, he's got a job. That was a different time back then.

So she was a great woman, wonderful story. She worked at a Jewish community center for many years, taking care of the little kids there, and was just a beautiful, beautiful soul who only knew how to love, only -- there were so many people -- and I remember as a boy, waking up and there would be people in the house all the time who needed a place to stay, who needed food, who needed anything.

She's just a wonderful, wonderful woman.

MORGAN: What did she make of what happened to you? She must have been stunned. Or did she quietly think all the time, Tyler is going to make something big of himself?

PERRY: She -- it -- well, you mean of all the success?

MORGAN: Yes.

PERRY: It was remarkable to her, because she would always say to me, she had always wanted to live like Ms. Chancellor on "The Young and the Restless."

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY: That -- you know, and she never thought she would. So the greatest -- the greatest gift in my life was what my audience has given me, and that is the opportunity to take care of her and have her live the best life that she could.

MORGAN: I really love your story that she passed a showroom or something, or a car on the road, which was a red Jaguar.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: And she just said, I'd love to have one of those.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Did you ever get the chance to --

PERRY: I did.

MORGAN: -- get her a red Jaguar?

PERRY: I did. I was a little boy at the time. And she -- we're driving and she goes, "Man, I really like that car." And I said when I get -- when I get big, I'm going to buy you that car. And I was in New Orleans on stage at the Sanger Theater. This was before Katrina. And called her up on stage one night during a -- I think it was close to Mother's Day. And I gave her the keys to the car.

MORGAN: What a moment.

PERRY: That was a great moment. Yes. So many tears in the audience and so many tears from her. It was a really good moment.

MORGAN: What did she say to you?

PERRY: Just -- she's speechless, just a thank you and the love. And here's a woman who never asked me for a dime, never asked me for a dime. But as a little boy, watching all that she had gone through, I wanted to do everything I could to take care of her, to make sure she had the best life she could. And because of my audience, God bless them, I was able to do that.

MORGAN: After the break, Tyler, let's talk about money, fame, love and Oprah.

PERRY: OK.

MORGAN: Maybe they're all linked there somewhere.

PERRY: All together. They're all together.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a cute little thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get your hands off of me.

PERRY: Young man.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who you think you're talking to, old lady?

PERRY: You don't know me. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Now get the hell up from the table and roll now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess nobody told you I run this prison. I'm Big Sal. What Big Sal wants, Big Sal gets.

PERRY: I guess nobody told you that I'm Madea. Ma to the damn, D-E- A. You understand that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Madea, Tyler Perry grimacing there with a mixture of joy and horror --

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- at the character he created. He made a huge franchise, an amazing franchise actually came out of that, seven movies.

PERRY: Joy and horror, that's just about right, Piers. Yes, yes, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Did you ever think when you were young and you started treading the boards that one day you'd be world famous for cross- dressing?

PERRY: Yes, never --

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY: Never in a million years. Even the first time I did it, I'd never thought that it would -- it would last as long as it did. I just thought -- I saw Eddie Murphy do it, the brilliant Eddie Murphy, in "The Clumps," and I said, OK, I'll try my hand at a female character and I'd do it. And the audience won't let it go, man. They love it.

MORGAN: Oprah had a great line about this, which I thought was probably true, though I'm interested in what you think. She says, "I think Tyler grew up being raised by strong black women."

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: "And so much of what he does is really in celebration of that. I think that's what Madea really is, a compilation of all these strong black women that I know and maybe you do, too. And so the reason it works is because people see themselves."

PERRY: Sure. Sure. Yes. And what I've found is that as I've traveled the country, that -- that Madea isn't just a black woman. There are lots of other Madeas from every -- I've met a Jewish Madea, I've met an Italian Madea, you know?

MORGAN: It's about strong women.

PERRY: Strong women, yes. Absolutely, the strength of the woman. And there were a lot of those women around me. My mother was one. My aunt was another, who, you know, this woman carried a razor all the time. You know, these women were very strong and you wouldn't want to run into them in a dark alley because you'd be in trouble.

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Last year, "Forbes" listed you as the highest paid man in entertainment --

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- making $130 million. Wow.

PERRY: Hmmm.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Any comment?

PERRY: No. Next question. I mean I --

MORGAN: You feel uncomfortable talking about money?

PERRY: I just try -- it drives me insane. It really drives me insane, because I don't -- because, you know, it's great. I'm grateful for it. I really, really truly am. But I don't -- I don't necessarily want it printed. You know, I don't think people want their income printed. Yes.

MORGAN: If I had that kind of money, I'd want it printed.

PERRY: No, no, no.

MORGAN: What's the point of working that hard if you can't --

PERRY: Well --

MORGAN: -- show off about it?

PERRY: No, who wants to show -- it's not a -- it's certainly not about showing off. But, you know what that means to me, honestly, is this, is to make that type of money means that I get to reinvest it in what I do, because I invest in myself. And I'm able to hire a lot more people down there at the studio and do more films. So that's --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: The Tyler Perry Studio. I mean that's pretty cool.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Your motto is a place where even dreams believe. I love that.

PERRY: Yes, yes, yes. Because that's -- I read the story of David in the Bible. And there was a moment in his life where he was a dreamer, but he was in prison and the dreams kept reminding him to keep going. So he stopped believing, but the dream itself kept believing. So that's where the -- that the mantra came from. This -- sometimes things get so rough and so bad in your life that your dream has to dream for you and remind you to keep going.

MORGAN: What is the best thing about money, though, for you?

PERRY: Again, the best thing which is -- which changed my entire life was being able to support my mother. That's where all the drive came from --

MORGAN: I'm told you're ridiculously generous.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Like, you know, you can't watch television without getting the checkbook out and wanting to help people.

PERRY: Sometimes. That's why it's very difficult for me to watch the news, because I always find a way to -- yes, I want to reach out. Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: That's a nice side of you.

PERRY: OK. Thank you.

MORGAN: Why do you -- why do you feel awkward talking about this kind of thing?

PERRY: Well, because it's -- I just feel that to whom much is given, much is required. And everybody doesn't have to know all the other sides of it. Whatever you do for people and the kindness that you show, it's not for -- necessarily for everybody to know. That's my --

MORGAN: Unlike most celebrities I've interviewed in your position who have been this successful, there doesn't seem to be any terrible drug, alcohol-related period where you had to go in the Betty Ford Clinic for a year.

PERRY: No. No.

MORGAN: None of that. How have you avoided the pitfalls that go with superstar fame, big money and all the rest of it?

PERRY: My faith. It has completely 100 percent been my faith in God and believing and praying all the time. Because this entire life, when I look at all these people and what they grew up -- they go through and how they go through it -- and Whitney who was a friend of mine and Michael Jackson and the struggle, I feel I understand what brings you to a point of I need some relief.

I completely understand it because the pressure of the situation can be really difficult and demanding. And it affects -- it doesn't affect you as much as it affects everybody around you, which in turns -- which in turn will affect you. So I understand that. MORGAN: See, that's a very good point. That's a point that people don't see often enough. So how can superstars have pressure? I mean, they're not coal miners, and I say no, but it's a very particular pressure.

PERRY: Sure. Sure.

MORGAN: Because their fame causes all sorts of ripple effects.

PERRY: Yes. With everything.

MORGAN: They end up -- they can't trust anybody, family members betray them, and so on and so on.

PERRY: All of that.

MORGAN: It's a very different kind of pressure.

PERRY: All of that.

MORGAN: And it can get overwhelming for people.

PERRY: Absolutely. And I understand why people turn to some sort of relief. And I'm telling you, if I didn't have my faith in God, I don't know where I would be. And you add to that that your income has been printed for million of people to read. It changes everything and the people around you.

You're still the same person going, what's the matter? What's happening? And --

MORGAN: Because -- I read, that awful bastard.

PERRY: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY: Exactly. So I've got a lot of -- I've got a lot of that. I got that bad. I got a lot of that.

MORGAN:

MORGAN: Oprah has been a great role model to you.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: You've just joined her network --

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: -- to work with her, which is great for her and great for you, I think.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Tell me about Oprah, because I love Oprah. She did my first show. She couldn't have been more gracious to me.

PERRY: Yes, a great interview, too. You know, there's not much I can say about her that isn't known. What you see is what you get.

MORGAN: It's true.

PERRY: She is who she is. I mean -- and I think that's why the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and her legacy and everything that she's done has been so profound because it is all authentic and real, to the millionth of an inch, it's all very, very real. It comes from her soul and her heart. And what she does and wants to do is inspire, uplift and encourage which is what in my well house as well. So that' s why we clicked and became such great friends.

MORGAN: What advice is she giving you now that you're joining her network? I mean basically working for her. She's the boss.

PERRY: Yes. Yes. I think that the best advice that she's given me is, come here and do what you do. You know, do what you do and be comfortable doing what you do. And I'm very honored to even have an opportunity to work with her, because the woman has inspired me my entire life. So to be able to join forces and go in and -- because I'm moving towards having my own network, and we get an opportunity to help each other. I have programming that can produce content and she needs programming content and she has the experience of starting her own network so it's a great trade-off and a great situation.

MORGAN: Let's take another break, Tyler. Want to come back and talk to you about love, romance.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Marriage, children.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: And Morgan Freeman.

PERRY: OK. Cool. In that order.

MORGAN: It doesn't mean that order?

PERRY: In that order. In that order.

MORGAN: You can use Morgan Freeman to deflect all the others.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Let me see your hands. Let me see your hands. Put down the gun. Put down the weapon now. Do it now. Is this what you want to die doing? Drop the gun. Put your hands behind your back now, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Getting tough as an action hero. That's Tyler Perry in the new film "Alex Cross." It's a very big departure for you, this.

PERRY: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: Never seen you in quite this role. Do you enjoy playing the action hero?

PERRY: I actually did. I never thought of it as an action hero, though. When I read the script, I look at his entire arc, and it was very interesting to me. The one thing that made me say no was Morgan Freeman. And --

MORGAN: I mean replacing Morgan Freeman is --

PERRY: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: -- is like replacing Sean Connery as Bond or something.

PERRY: Look, I mean, the man played God. OK? He plays --

MORGAN: He's my -- he's my movie God.

PERRY: Yes, he played God in a movie. So I couldn't -- I'm like -- but as I look at James Patterson's description of the physicality and the age and family, and I thought, he's talking about me. So I gave it a second look and I loved the arc that I get to play in this role. I get to go from a family man to the brilliant psychologist figuring things out, to chasing down a bad guy, to this lion being unleashed at the end of the movie. So I'm super excited about it.

MORGAN: You're also super slim, Tyler. And we've got here "Men's Health," look at this. You've lost 30 pounds?

PERRY: Yes. I dropped 30 pounds.

MORGAN: This is one of those gut-busting front covers.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: "How Tyler Perry Dropped 30 Pounds, and You Can, Too." But you do it in great (INAUDIBLE). How did you do it?

PERRY: Mostly I worked with a trainer, a guy Anthony Golston. Great guy. There's a book called "Pray Fit," that really helps with prayer and working out.

MORGAN: But is it basically about you just don't eat as much?

PERRY: Yes, you don't -- you don't eat as much and you move a lot more, and the thing that I was working out and running five miles -- this Krav Maga, Israeli fighting, and I'm tell you, I'm dropping names here, but this guy Eric down in Atlanta who worked with me was amazing at -- I did it for five minutes and couldn't get off the floor. Could not get of the floor. I couldn't get through a whole workout. But it's amazing to get you to really shed the pounds.

MORGAN: Let's talk about love, Tyler. PERRY: No.

MORGAN: Let me ask that again. Let's talk about love, Tyler.

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY: OK. Fine. Let's talk about love.

MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love in your life?

PERRY: What does that mean? What does that mean, like --

MORGAN: That's what Oprah said to me. And I said, you know, the type that makes your heart ache or break. That's what it means. That kind of love.

PERRY: If I told you the truth I'd get in trouble so --

MORGAN: Why?

PERRY: Because there are --

(LAUGHTER)

So "Alex Cross" is an amazing movie.

MORGAN: Tyler, Tyler, I'm not letting you off the hook.

PERRY: OK. OK. It's just -- all right, all right. Once.

MORGAN: Really?

PERRY: Once, yes. Yes.

MORGAN: And what went wrong?

PERRY: I think we were both very young. Well, we were mid-30s, which was -- it was a very scary time in my life. I was just coming into success. I had spent 28 years of my life being very unhappy and I was -- I was very afraid of it. I was very afraid of the feeling of not being able to know if she loved me the way that I loved her, and the control I think scared me.

MORGAN: It was, in the end, your decision to walk away?

PERRY: Yes. It was.

MORGAN: Do you regret that?

PERRY: No, I don't.

MORGAN: You thought it was the right thing?

PERRY: Yes, because we both were in a place where -- and I just realized I should not have said this because -- I should not have said this. MORGAN: Why? Why shouldn't you have said it?

PERRY: Because I said too much. Now she'll figure it out. And -- yes.

MORGAN: What will she figure out? She knows what happened.

PERRY: Why don't you ask another question?

(LAUGHTER)

Why don't you ask another question?

MORGAN: This is a fascinating side to you, because you're being so nice about it and so honest.

PERRY: OK. All right. So what do you want to talk about now?

MORGAN: I suppose the obvious question after that is, do you hope to have that again in your life? I mean do -- is -- you're so busy. You're so successful.

PERRY: Well, that's part of the reason that I'm so busy. Like there's a woman that I'm seeing now that I love very, very much. It's a different kind of love, but I love her very, very much. And --

MORGAN: OK. Now I'm beginning to work out why you dug yourself into a hole.

PERRY: See now --

(LAUGHTER)

So now you see me trying to dig myself out of the hole.

MORGAN: Yes, I did.

(CROSS TALK)

PERRY: There it is. So what I'm trying to do at this point is just enjoy it all. I'm not ready to settle down, I'm not ready to get married. I'm not ready to be in a situation where I have a commitment. Not ready for that, and especially after that situation.

MORGAN: Well, I see. So you went through a very deep experience and you just want to be sure next time that it's right.

PERRY: And what's the rush?

MORGAN: Yes.

PERRY: I'm a guy. I'm 43. I've got no biological clock.

MORGAN: But don't you want little Tylers running around?

PERRY: Yes. I want that more than I want to be married, though. So I just have to find a way that I'm OK with that happening.

MORGAN: Well, I wish you luck, Tyler. There's no hurry. You can do what you like. You probably have a queue -- you call them lines over here, don't you. You have a line probably the length of Manhattan of potential suitors, I would imagine.

PERRY: Well, I appreciate that. OK --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Shall we move on?

PERRY: Yes, please. Thank you so much. Wow. All right.

MORGAN: Do you want to have a glass of water?

PERRY: No, I felt good. No. I need a shot of vodka, my friend. That's what I need at this point.

(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: I thought I'd ask you one thing. You cast Kim Kardashian in a film about marriage counseling --

PERRY: And then it gets worse.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I mean, seriously. Seriously. I know that may be one of the most awkward links of all time.

PERRY: You went from bad to worse. Yes, yes, I did.

MORGAN: What were you thinking?

PERRY: No, no, no, no. Let me just say this. I mean --

MORGAN: Kim Kardashian is to marriage counseling what Bernie Madoff is to financial management.

PERRY: Let me make this perfectly clear about Kim Kardashian and my choice of casting her in this film. I wrote a film that is coming out in March, and it's called "The Marriage Counselor" and it is about -- it's a cautionary tale about making bad decisions in relationships. I had no idea she was married. I had no idea she was going through what she was going through. I had no idea she was going to go through a divorce.

MORGAN: Did you have any idea who she was?

PERRY: To be honest with you, I did not.

MORGAN: You've never heard of her?

PERRY: I have heard of her, but I didn't know all of that she had done. But what I know about her is this. She's a sweet girl. She came in. She did a great job. She was very professional. I'm very happy with what she did and I'm also very happy that -- of this. And hear me clearly when I say this. There are millions of people who look up to the Kardashians.

And I think it's very responsible to have someone like Kim Kardashian in a film that is a cautionary tale about making bad decisions and choices so that as people or children or fans of hers are watching and coming in and they see this story, if it speaks to them, then she's done a great job and I've done a great job in putting her in the movie.

MORGAN: And by the way, she has about 18 million followers on Twitter.

PERRY: So you understand what I'm --

MORGAN: I get it. I interviewed her.

PERRY: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: And her sister. I was impressed by it.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: She hasn't claimed to be anything she's not.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Didn't claim to be fabulously talented. What she is --

PERRY: Is beautiful.

MORGAN: -- very hard working, very beautiful.

PERRY: Very hard working. Yes.

MORGAN: And knows to work a brand.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break. Come back and talk about another smart cookie. A fabulously talented one. Whitney Houston. I interviewed her earlier. A tragic loss. And I want to know your thoughts. You were a friend of hers, tried to help her and clearly, like many other people, weren't successful.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Don Lemon. Here are your headlines this hour.

Citizens across the nation paused today to pay tribute and give heartfelt thanks to our military heroes. At Arlington National Cemetery, President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Told the crowd that his administration will be vigilant in making sure veterans get the health care they need when they need it. Lawmakers have some pointed questions about the FBI's investigation into General David Petraeus's extramarital affair. They want to know why they weren't told and they want to know if national security was breached.

New York Congressman Peter King talked with CNN's Candy Crowley today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: It seems it's been going on for several months and yet now it appears that they're saying that the FBI didn't realize until Election Day that General Petraeus was involved. It just doesn't add up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Petraeus resigned from his post at CIA director Friday and admitted he had an affair. Sources then said the affair was with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

And for the first time in four years an NFL game has ended in a tie. The San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams were each unable to convert overtime field goals to win the game. Final score between the NFC West rivals, 24-24. The last tie was November 16th, 2008, between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Those are your headlines this hour. I'm Don Lemon. Keeping you informed. CNN, the most trusted name in news. See you at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with my special guest, Tyler Perry.

Tyler, it's been a fascinating experience knowing you. You're a very honest, open book. Even if you don't want to be, I can see the --

(CROSSTALK)

PERRY: About everything. I don't want to -- I don't want to share everything. I don't mind being honest. I don't want to share.

MORGAN: We touched early on Whitney Houston who was a friend of yours.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: And you've been quite candid about trying to help her. You rang her or felt compelled to ring her on the night that Michael Jackson died.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Because it was similar rage, similar kind of problems. You realized she may be going through turmoil over that.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Just tell me about that.

PERRY: It was -- and I haven't talk about it publicly. I'm surprised that you know that. How do you know that?

MORGAN: I know everything, Tyler.

PERRY: I called her that night. And I had been trying to get her all day. And I called her that night. And she had Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You" blasting in the background. I'm surprised she could hear me. And we talked for awhile. And she was really broken up by his death. And I didn't know if she was thinking about herself, but I was trying very desperately to get her to let me come over to the house and just sit with her to make sure she was OK.

And Whitney, in true fashion, after me trying for about five, 10 different times, she said listen, I'm a mother and I'm a woman, and I'm single, and you're not coming over to my house in the middle of the night.

(LAUGHTER)

In the way that only she could. But it's beyond tragic. And I was so disgusted. I must tell you, I was so disgusted at the media and the way that they handled her death. It was -- it was so blatantly disrespectful. The paparazzi, this is what I mean about fame, and even in death, trying to get her -- just her body from the morgue to the plane.

MORGAN: Because you supplied the plane, didn't you?

PERRY: I did. I did. And there was -- there was -- this was -- it was beyond awful. I tell you, there was -- we tried to send a hearse as a decoy. They found out we had the body in a van. And there were paparazzi 50 deep following the van. I had to move the plane into the hangar and close the door, bring the van in. And one person -- one of the hired drivers is trying to take pictures of them putting her body on the plane.

It was just beyond disrespectful for her family and everyone else. And I understand she was a superstar but she didn't deserve to be treated that way in the media toward the end. You know? And they asked me to come down to the Beverly Hilton and walking into that hotel room and seeing -- it was so bizarre. I'm thinking these people cannot know that she has died. There's a party going on. This can't be true. It can't be real. It's so surreal.

I go upstairs to the floor and her family's there. They're all in tears. And I'm in the room with them and the coroners and the police are three doors down from where we are. And I'm looking at the water on the table as the family's breaking down. It's vibrating from the bass below.

I just think, what is this? What is this? That this woman's life is not worth a moment of silence? To so many people when she's meant so much. So it was beyond hurtful. In many ways.

MORGAN: Very sad indeed.

In "Alex Cross," your new movie --

PERRY: Yes, let's talk to -- let's talk about something else.

MORGAN: A lot of guns and violence, and you get stuck in it and so on.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Gun violence is a big thing of mine.

PERRY: Sure. Sure.

MORGAN: I come from a country -- a continent where it doesn't really exist in the same form it does here. It's a kind of weird relationship between an American and his or her gun.

Do you believe that the candidates whoever wins the presidency should be doing more to bring in tougher gun control?

PERRY: Absolutely. I completely 100 percent think so. Any time somebody can walk into a movie theater and do something like that, you know, people are just going out to be entertained. Absolutely there should be -- there should be more done for gun control, and you are speaking to a kid who grew up in the inner city where there were drive-by shootings all the time, friends who were murdered, so absolutely.

MORGAN: I got Kasim Reed, who's the mayor of Atlanta, came on the show last week, and he's a big proponent of gun control, too. He's in the city where it's obviously rife, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and others. What needs to be done? I mean who's going to take on the gun lobby here?

PERRY: Yes. You're asking the wrong person, you're asking the wrong person, because I don't know enough about the laws to speak in an educated voice on it, but I think it should start with just tougher screening to own guns. You know? Maybe there should be a psychological profile, not just, not just, you know, criminal, but a psychological profile that's filled out in order to be able to own a gun.

MORGAN: I totally agree.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Well, "Alex Cross" is a terrific movie. It's very strange to see you in that kind movie. I wasn't expecting it, really enjoyed it, I think it's -- the only thing I can see is a new James Bond Tyler.

PERRY: You won't see me as James Bond.

MORGAN: Why not? PERRY: No, no, no. That's it.

MORGAN: First black bond?

PERRY: No, no. Will Smith should be the first black Bond.

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE).

PERRY: Will Smith should be the first black Bond.

MORGAN: Why should it be him?

PERRY: Because if you lose weight at the rate you're going, you'll be skinnier than Will Smith.

PERRY: No, no, no. I'm thinking, this is it, buddy. I'm not getting any skinnier, I'll stick with "Alex Cross."

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Final question. It's one I ask of other people, that if you could relive one moment in your life before you die. And I had that power to give you. What would you choose?

PERRY: There's one moment I'll -- and I will probably regret it for my entire life my mother was -- on a death bed. And she told me, she said, I just want it all to be over. And I get so upset I couldn't hear it. And I wish that I had listened to what she had to say, because I felt that in that moment there was so much she wanted to share with me, and had I -- had I been able to hold myself still and listen, I probably would have had a lot more of my life's question that is answered.

MORGAN: That's a very poignant thing.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Tyler, it's been a real pleasure.

PERRY: Thank you.

MORGAN: Please come back sooner than 20 months or whatever it was to take you -- it took me to get you but --

PERRY: OK.

MORGAN: It's been a real pleasure. Best of luck with the movie.

PERRY: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: "Alex Cross" is a terrific film, and of course, look out for all your numerous projects in 2013, and especially your work at OWN with my friend Oprah.

PERRY: Yes.

MORGAN: Best of luck with that.

PERRY: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: Good to see you.

PERRY: And you as well.

MORGAN: Tyler Perry. And (INAUDIBLE) guy. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CATALINA ESCOBAR, CNN HERO: Teen pregnancy in Cartagena is a very big issue. When you go to slums, it is unbelievable what you see. Many of my girls live here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is so wrong.

ESCOBAR: You see these girls, they are babies holding babies. About 10 years ago, I was volunteering at this maternity hospital, and I was holding this baby and he passed away with me. This teen mother failed to raise the money to cover treatment. Four days later my own son passed away in an accident. I realized that I didn't want any mother to feel the same grief they went through.

My name is Catalina Escobar, and I'm helping teen mom get a healthy and productive life for them and for their babies.

When we first started as the maternity hospital, we reduced dramatically the infant mortality rate, but the real problem, it was much bigger than that. My girls end up being pregnant, because they don't have sexual education, and many of my girls are sexually abused.

When my girls come, they drop their babies in the daycare center. We have different workshops so they can develop their skills.

We are changing the lives of these girls. If you give them the right tools, they are capable of moving forward.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)