Bill Condon must have more respect for Eddie Murphy than the rest of the country combined. Not only did he trust Murphy to deliver a strong, dramatic supporting performance in “Dreamgirls”, he now wants Murphy to play legendary comic Richard Pryor in the biopic “Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?”
According to EW, Fox Searchlight, the studio that The Weinstein Company wishes it could be, is expressing interest in the film after it was put in turnaround by, who else, The Weinstein Company. But let’s get to the heart of the story: is Murphy right for the role? Sure, the guy can do a impression of Pryor and Pryor was clearly a huge influence on Murphy back when Murphy was a stand-up comedian, but Murphy’s name now carries baggage for audiences. He’s the guy you put in “high-concept” family comedies that tank at the box office. Any goodwill he garnered from “Dreamgirls” was immediately wasted as the nation was treated to yet another Murphy-in-fatsuit movie, “Norbit”. Whoever plays Pryor will automatically get an Oscar nomination because the Academy would hate to look like they’re snubbing Pryor (even though what they should be appraising is the performance, not the subject) but I fear that putting Murphy in the role would be highly distracting. He got away with it in “Dreamgirls” because he was playing a fictional character (albeit one based on a real person) but playing a legend like Pryor is a minefield.
Click here to wonder if you can turn this into a “high-concept” comedy involving copious amounts of latex.