After 14 years wearing pearls and pads on-screen, Tyler Perry is officially hanging up Madea’s muumuu.
“I’m turning 50 this year and didn’t want to be her age playing her,” the filmmaker and star tells The Post of his drag-tastic character. “It’s been a great run, but it’s time to move on.”
Luckily, Perry isn’t leaving Madea behind without a proper goodbye — as she’d say, hallelujer! In “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral,” in theaters Friday, the sassy senior citizen is back for one last hurrah. The 11th Madea movie finds her and her family coming together for a surprise party that goes fatally wrong. When a character kicks the bucket, jaw-dropping family secrets arise, potentially upending the funeral service.
And while Madea isn’t the one going six feet under, Perry is more than ready to bury those unforgettable outfits.
“I won’t miss any of it — putting on the wig or the costume,” he says.
Still, costume designer Crystal Hayslett had a job to do: Send Madea out with a bang. After starting out working for Perry in 2012 as a production assistant in the wardrobe department, Atlanta-based Hayslett, 36, has gone on to costume Perry’s “Nobody’s Fool,” “Acrimony” and both “Boo! A Madea Halloween” flicks.
On each film, Hayslett reads the script and then presents a mood board to the producers, including Perry, who approves the looks.
“The only thing Mr. Perry cares about is that he’s not matching the set,” Hayslett tells The Post. “Other than that, he gives me complete creative control when it comes to the dresses. Honestly, he wears so many hats when it comes to shooting Madea films — he’s the writer, he’s the director, he’s playing four different characters. So the last thing he’s really worried about is a dress.”
For scenes taking place at home, Madea’s known to wear a voluminous muumuu, but outside the house, she sports a signature look. She always dons a version of the same dress: a basic, long-sleeve, collared number that comes down to Perry’s calves and features an elastic waist to help give her shape. The formula has been used so many times that Hayslett has never actually measured Perry — she just bases each dress off the last one. They’re all custom-made by a tailoring team, but Hayslett guesses that off-the-rack, Perry, who is 6-foot-5, would need a women’s size 4X or 5X.
That’s including the fat suit: Underneath the dresses, Perry wears an all-in-one enlarger that pads his thighs, butt and stomach, while adding not-quite-perky breasts filled with plastic beads.
“[It makes] them heavy, so when Madea’s bouncing around, they just kind of go with the flow,” Hayslett says.
In “Family Funeral,” Madea sports three variations of her classic frock: a purple floral look in cotton; a watercolor-inspired orange satin dress; and, for the signature event, an all-black get-up. The costume crew made four copies of each dress, in case any zippers popped or buttons went flying on set.
Hayslett typically draws inspiration for Madea’s ensembles from her 94-year-old grandmother, Ruth, who lives in Somerville, Tenn., and “rarely wears pants,” the designer says. For the funeral dress, she turned instead to someone nearly as bootylicious as Madea herself: Beyoncé.
Hayslett studied the superstar’s Southern Gothic black dress and wide-brimmed hat seen in her “Formation” music video. As a result, Madea’s dress itself was a step up from her typical day look, with Hayslett adding ruffles and lace to the sleeves and beading to the collar.
But the biggest challenge for the designer turned out to be the hat — and finding one big enough to fit over Perry’s gray wig. The team ended up cutting the brim off the hat they found at Goorin Bros. Hat Shop and making a new brim out of felt-covered cardboard.
“When it was time to put the hat on Madea, I think everyone on my team was holding their breath, like, ‘Please, Lord, let this hat fit,’ ” says Hayslett. “And it did. It was a hit. [Perry] was cracking up, like, ‘Y’all are crazy!’ ”
Of course, no Madea look is complete without a few accessories — she doesn’t go anywhere without her pearls and clear vintage eyeglasses. For footwear, Madea typically slips into black ballerina flats that match her black purse; while at home, she opts for a pair of pastel, terry cloth slides.
For Perry, any shoe higher off the ground is strictly off limits.
“You will never catch that man in heels,” says Hayslett, laughing. “Absolutely not.”
Dude looks like a lady
Fashion trends come and go, but you can always count on Madea and her muumuus. Here’s the recipe for Tyler Perry’s iconic character, no matter when she’s on-screen.
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