It’s Mike Epps! After years of rumors and months of open competition, Mike Epps has pushed his way to the front of the pack and officially landed the role of Richard Pryor in the upcoming Richard Pryor biopic. He should be pretty proud too given pretty much everyone else rumored for the role was either more famous or more buzzed about.
The announcement hasn’t been officially made by the studio, but director Lee Daniels and producer and rumored star Oprah Winfrey both tweeted / instagramed pictures that celebrated the casting…
The Richard Pryor biopic has already gone through several producers and has had a ton of different stars linked to it. At various points, the world was pretty convinced the role was going to go to Michael B Jordan, Nick Cannon or Marlon Wayans. None of those versions ever came together, however, and according to IndieWire, Epps crushed his audition and propelled himself to the front of the pack.
That’s the thing about a biopic. Sometimes the subject matter itself can sell the project to the point where it’s a good decision to hire someone outside of box office consideration. Besides, it’s not like Jordan, Cannon or Wayans are exactly on the Tom Cruise level. They’re all probably capable of opening a movie, but it would need to be the right movie at the right time. So, why not Mike Epps?
Richard Pryor is arguably the greatest stand-up comedian of all-time. Worst case scenario for him, he’s a top five stand-up comedian of all-time. Perhaps more importantly, he was also an astute and clever critic of society during a time when people needed someone to speak up. As such, he’s a lot more important than for just the laughter he provided.
He also lived a pretty insane life with seven marriages, five wives and one combination crack cocaine and fire injury. As such, it makes sense this movie would be a bit of a hot mess behind the scenes too. Richard Pryor’s son is already threatening his dad’s widow with a lawsuit if the movie pushes forward. He seems to think she shouldn’t be entitled to the life rights, though it’s unclear why the film would pose a problem. Regardless, The Weinstein Company doesn’t seem to be too worried. And everyone involved in that picture above certainly seems optimistic.