A biopic of legendary comedian Richard Pryor has been in the works for years now, but it appears that the film is finally coming to fruition. We learned earlier this year that Precious and The Butler director Lee Daniels was signing on to helm the biopic, as contenders for the role of Pryor emerged. Actors like Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock had all vied for the part at one point or another in previous iterations of the project, and Daniels’ iteration was reported to have Murphy, Marlon Wayans, and Michael B. Jordan circling the role. But over all the iterations, one name had regularly surfaced as a standout: Mike Epps. Apparently his screen test for a previous version of the film blew people away, and last night on Twitter Daniels and Epps confirmed that the Hangover and Next Friday actor will indeed be playing Richard Pryor in this new biopic. More on the Richard Pryor movie after the jump.
Epps was actually previously cast as Richard Pryor in another version of this project, with the Pryors themselves choosing him for the part. However, that movie fell apart before cameras rolled. Now Daniels is set to direct the biopic for The Weinstein Company, and after a few rounds of auditions he settled on Epps to take on the role. Daniels has a few other films that he’s developing, including a Janis Joplin biopic with Amy Adams and the wrongful imprisonment drama The Brian Banks Story, but it very much looks like the Richard Pryor film will be his next project. With The Weinstein Company involved, you can bet the pic will be part of the awards race.
Daniels broke the news on his Twitter last night (along with Oprah Winfrey for some reason—maybe she’s a producer?), and then Epps took to Twitter himself to post a photo of him and Richard Pryor’s widow. Check them both out below.
— lee daniels (@leedanielsent) August 24, 2014
Had to kiss the ring of @jennferLpryor for the blessing !you got to be stong to have been with the king! pic.twitter.com/OxvbjvPqHc
— Mike Epps (@TheRealMikeEpps) August 24, 2014