Bill Block’s QED International will commence pre-sales next week on the thriller franchise reboot I, Alex Cross, which will star the family entertainer in a marked change of direction.

Perry, whose Madea films have made him a staple at the US box office, will play the detective-psychologist Cross in the thriller based on James Patterson’s books.

Rob Cohen has signed on to direct and principal photography is scheduled to begin in June. Block and QED’s Paul Hanson are producing with Leopoldo Gout, while Patterson and Steve Bowen take executive producer credits.

QED acquired worldwide rights and the initial script by Kerry Williamson and Patterson and has hired Marc Moss – who worked on the previous films based on the Cross character –  to refine the screenplay for Cohen and Perry.

“This film exemplifies the kind of project we seek: a commercial, action-packed story built upon complex and interesting characters,” Block said.

“We know there is a wide audience for this franchise, particularly when we are drawing from the already huge fan bases of James Patterson, Tyler Perry and Rob Cohen.”

Morgan Freeman originally portrayed Cross in Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider.