Lee Daniels in Talks to Direct Richard Pryor Biopic; Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans, or Eddie Murphy Might Star

     January 10, 2014


Last year, we reported that director Lee Daniels was planning to follow up The Butler with a Janis Joplin biopic starring Amy Adams.  However, it now looks like he’s moving towards another biopic, this one around legendary comedian Richard Pryor.  A Pryor biopic has been in the works for years, and last year we reported that Forest Whitaker was set to co-produce an untitled picture based on the stand-up comic’s life with the possibility of re-teaming with his Fruitvale Station star, Michael B. Jordan, to play the lead role.  Today’s news regarding Daniels’ Pryor biopic makes no mention of Whitaker (a bit odd since he starred in The Butler), but still mentions Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Pryor, as a producer the project.  However, Michael B. Jordan is still in the mix as are Marlon Wayans and Eddie Murphy.  Hit the jump for more.

richard-pryorAccording to THR, the film, which will be handled by The Weinstein Company, will primarily cover Pryor’s life during his 30s.  However, the Hollywood Reporter also says Wayans “at 41 years old is considered to be the right age for the project”, so that’s a bit confusing. Nevertheless, Wayans’ screen test reportedly “wowed Harvey Weinstein“, and there’s the question of whether the 26-year-old Jordan can be aged up for Pryor, or if the production can de-age the 52-year-old Murphy, which seems a lot harder to do.  If Murphy has an edge, it’s that he comes from stand-up comedy whereas Wayans’ background is sketch work.  Nevertheless, each of these actors has the potential to bring something interesting to the role.

My doubt is with Daniels.  I’m sure Daniels can handle the dramatic side, or at least push it to the point where it’s on the verge of breaking.  And if it does break, then Daniels will do what he’s done on numerous occasions before, which is create unintentional comedy.  When it comes to intentional comedy, the kind of laughs one would hope to see in the biopic of a comedian, I don’t know if Daniels can do it.  I see him drawn more to despair and mawkishness, and leaving the spirit of Pryor’s best work behind.

  • rivertreeradar

    give marlon the shot. i think he’s ready for this.

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    Marlon Waynes hands down deserves this role. He looks the most like Pryor and can do drama, Requium for a Dream.

  • Cedhollywood

    People always want the “look” instead of the important and crucial part of playing a real person which is the acting ability. Murphy knows and understands everything there is about Pryor. Murphy has the great ability to mimic and pull off all the comedy timing and rhythms of Pryor. When there was talk of Damon Wayans years ago playing Pryor he too would’ve been a great choice. Point is who can pull off that tragic self destructive side of Pryor who was able to turn that part of his dark life into great comedy.

    • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

      Murphy has spent his entire career pretending to be Pryor. I really hope he doesn’t get this job

      • Strong Enough

        get the fuck outta here

      • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

        nope. Murphy’s a joke.

      • Strong Enough

        you’re right. he’s funny

      • Cedhollywood

        Obviously you know nothing about the comedy of Pryor or Murphy.

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    wait, you mean Benedict Cumberpatch isn’t up for a title role in a movie? whaaat.

  • mattinacan

    dont let a wayans brother touch this please

  • Harry

    Give it to Marlon Wayans. He was excellent in the humorless Requiem for a Dream and the Wayans Bros. tv show was funny along with Scary Movie 1 and 2. Even the lesser quality films from the Wayans Bros. Marlon got the only laughs. Eddie Murphy has never been good since 1990 hit (I’ve never even liked anything from him) and Michael B. Jordan will lack the energy.

  • uncle ruckus

    Personally I wouldn’t get any of these guys. get Eddie griffin

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    Eddie Murphy performance in dream girls already proved he can play richard Pryor
    And.. He badly needs it !!!!
    Marlon Wayans has his haunted house franchise or whatever… (I agree he was great in requiem for a dream but hey he alienates the smart and old moviegoers who might be interested in the movie)
    Michael B. Jordan is an up and coming star with plenty of projects lined up. He’s good

  • JoeNiqua

    I heard that Pryor endorsed Mike Epps to play him in his future biopic before he passed. I guess the past few years haven’t been so kind to him.

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  • Giovanni Luis Jiminez

    Idris Elba

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