The upcoming Richard Pryor biopic has been in development for a very long time, but now is finally starting to really get its wheels in motion. Having found its lead actor more than a year ago, the project is getting around to building its ensemble, and this weekend has begun stacking its lineup with big names.
Deadline says that the Weinstein Company is just about ready to grant the greenlight to the untitled Richard Pryor biopic, and director Lee Daniels is doing what he can casting-wise to convince the studio its the right call. If all goes according to plan, production will start up next year, and it looks like it will move forward with a lot of big names attached...
To start off with the actor assigned the role of Richard Pryor himself, the project has Mike Epps set to perform as the legendary comedian. Given the actor's background, we can likely expect Epps to hit the real funny notes that the film will surely deliver, but will be intriguing to see is how he winds up approaching the darker and more dramatic elements of Pryor's life and character. There are many great comedians in cinematic history who have put on brilliant serious performances, and Epps has an opportunity here to join their ranks.
Next up we have one of the newest additions to the cast of the Richard Pryor film, though she has actually been attached to the project in a producer capacity for quite a while now. After taking on a key role in Lee Daniels' The Butler, the director has gotten Oprah Winfrey to play Richard Pryor's grandmother. What makes the role a bit special is the fact that the woman Winfrey will be portraying was the operator of a brothel, and it was there that she wound up raising the would-be comedian.
From there we will talk about yet another very important woman in Richard Pryor's life - albeit in a very different era. In the movie, Kate Hudson will be portraying Jennifer Lee Pryor, one of the comedian's six wives and the one who was with him when he died from a heart attack in 2005. She first married him in 1982, and while they would wind up divorcing a year later, they wound up getting back together in 2001.
Finally we have the other newest addition to the Richard Pryor biopic cast. Playing the role of the central figure's father, Leroy "Buck Carter" Pryor, will be none other than Eddie Murphy. This will be the actor's first dramatic role in nearly 10 years - but the last time he tried was Dreamgirls, and his performance wound up earning him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination. The project will mark the first time that Murphy and Daniels have had the opportunity to work together.
As things stand, the plan is to start production on the Richard Pryor biopic in March - once Lee Daniels has completed work on the second season of his hit Fox series, Empire. We'll keep you up to date with the project's newest developments.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.