Tyler Perry is to take over the role of detective-psychologist Alex Cross from Morgan Freeman.
The actor and film director, known for cross-dressing to play a loud grandmother in his film debut Diary Of A Mad Black Woman and its sequel, is to star in I, Alex Cross, an origin tale of the detective played by Freeman in 1997's Kiss The Girls and 2001's Along Came A Spider, Variety reports.
Tyler will play Cross in the film directed by Rob Cohen, director of The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor.
James Patterson, who is due to publish his 18th novel in the Alex Cross series this year said: "I am very pleased to see my most well-known character in the safe hands of Rob and Tyler. I look forward to a fulfilling collaboration to reinvigorate the films based on my books."
James helped co-write the first draft of the screenplay.
The Wire's Idris Elba had been due to play Alex Cross in an independent film adaptation due to be directed by David Twohy, but that project appears to have been put on hold.
Tyler is best known for his comedy performances but this year he directed a film adaptation of Ntozake Shange's 1975 stage play For Colored Girls starring Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg and Thandie Newton.