Richard Pryor Biopic Moves Forward With Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy and Oprah Winfrey
A Richard Pryor biopic has been in development for at least a decade now, with a couple of different actors and stars attached at various points. Pryor himself was involved in developing the film before his passing, but with director Lee Daniels attached the biopic is finally beginning to take shape and move forward, with Mike Epps officially locked down to star as the iconic comedian.
Deadline reports that The Weinstein Company is finally moving forward with the Pryor biopic with Lee Daniels at the helm. Epps, who impressed Daniels with his audition back in 2014, is formally attached to play Pryor, the groundbreaking and seminal comedian who rose to fame in the ’70s. The comedian was notable for his bold material on racial and social issues, and in one acclaimed standup performance he recounted the time he accidentally set himself on fire while freebasing cocaine.
Bill Condon was set to direct the film at one point and wrote the screenplay, with frequent Daniels collaborator Danny Strong contributing to the most recent draft. Pryor’s wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor, is co-producing the project and will be portrayed in the film by Kate Hudson. Oprah Winfrey, who starred in Daniels’ The Butler, will play Pryor’s grandmother who raised the late comic in her brothel. Eddie Murphy will play Pryor’s father, Leroy “Buck Carter” Pryor. Murphy’s involvement is of particular note, given that the comedian’s brazen material was often compared to the work of Pryor.
It is unclear who will play the younger version(s) of Pryor, but Epps managed to win the part after auditioning against Michael B. Jordan, Nick Cannon and Marlon Wayans — with Wayans previously considered more heavily when Condon was attached to direct.
Filming for the untitled biopic will commence next March when Daniels wraps production on the second season of his hit FOX drama Empire.