Several of Perry’s films are told from female perspectives, which he says was a result of his childhood experience. “My father who was there in the house, he wasn’t at all a role model,” he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. “And my mother who was trying to protect me from him as best she could, she took me everywhere with her, which gave me a tremendous amount of sensitivity to the things women go through. … I would spend more time at the laundromat and Lane Bryant than any young boy should. [In my writing] I'm speaking from the little boy who's at her apron, looking up at the world and seeing all that I'm seeing these women go through.”
Perry was 18 or 19 when he was first inspired to write and act. He was watching The Oprah Winfrey Show, he explains, and”[Oprah] said it was cathartic to write things down and I, at the time, didn’t know what ‘cathartic’ meant, I had to find a dictionary to look it up. And once I did, I started writing a lot of my own experiences down.” He didn’t have much privacy at home, so he used different character names to disguise himself in case anyone found his writing.
Photo credit: Sidney Baldwin/2012 Summit Entertainment LLC