Lee Daniels In Talks To Direct Richard Pryor Bio. Michael B. Jordan, Marlon Wayans, Eddie Murphy Eyed

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 10, 2014 3:33 PM
8 Comments
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A year ago, the news was that the project had changed hands yet again, as Forest Whitaker took over as producer (this came shortly after the huge success of Fruitvale Station at the Sundance Film Festival last year - a film he produced).

Today's news is that Lee Daniels is now in talks to direct the project, adding to his already full slate, assuming a deal is worked out.

Also, The Weinstein Company, who produced and distributed Daniels' last film, the blockbuster drama The Butler, have come on board to back this project as well - a Richard Pryor biopic that's been in development forever, most recently, with Marlon Wayans attached to star, and Chris Rock producing alongside Adam Sandler.

Wayans is apparently still in the mix, says The Hollywood Reporter, with Michael B. Jordan, and Eddie Murphy both said to be on the short list as well.

The project is being made with input from Pryor's widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, so, I suppose we could say that this won't be one of those troubled biopics made without the approval/blessing of the subject's family.

Although, if there's suddenly some objection from someone we don't know of yet, I won't be surprised, given recent biopic project hold-ups.

No word on whether Whitaker is still involved.

Last year saw the release of what was dubbed the definitive documentary on Pryor's life, directed by Marina Zenovich (known mostly for directing the multiple award-winning 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired), which will make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Jennifer Lee Pryor was also producer of the doc, giving director Marina Zenovich access to estate photos and other materials, as many of Pryor's friends and family opened up for the project, which focused on Pryor's transformation from successful but mild stand-up comedian, to successful but dangerous social critic. 

Titled Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic, the doc was broadcast on Showtime last fall, as part of a new documentary series showcase titled Closeup, which gives measured and complex looks at the lives of several notable public figures, with Richard Pryor being among the first to be "provocatively studied," as Showtime described it.

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8 Comments

  • YOUR TV STEALER | January 13, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    Jimmy "Thunder" Early is too old. Sorry.

    Michael might look the part, but I don't think he can pull of Richard Pryor.

    Marlon might be the best out of the three names provided but still...eh.

  • Sean Jackson | January 12, 2014 2:39 PMReply

    NO EDDIE MURPHY! The only thing he can do is Donkey. What about Mike Epps?

  • Miles Ellison | January 11, 2014 4:55 PMReply

    This will not end well.

  • urbanauteur | January 11, 2014 1:58 PMReply

    Would love to resurrect his controversial "Uncle Tom's Fairy Tales"and have both Dave Chappelle and Marlon Wayans rock it together!, mix it up like "Do the Right Thing", "Dead Ringers" and "Being John Malkovich";-)

  • DUDI | January 10, 2014 6:08 PMReply

    There is not even a single guy on the whole planet to play this genius comedian. He's simply unreachable. Lee Daniels looks like a good pick to direct but I wouldn't agree with anyone to play him, so whoever gets the job, i'll stick with it.

  • Dankwa Brooks | January 10, 2014 5:36 PMReply

    MARLON WAYANS is the only one mentioned that I see starring. I don't know is JORDAN has the comedic timing to pull off the comedic parts and I think MURPHY is just too old, but that hasn't stopped older people from shaving and playing young. It's been done before.

    If Murphy gets the role I won't be mad.

  • Donella | January 10, 2014 5:29 PMReply

    I am also team Marlon Wayans. :-)

  • JayTeeDee | January 10, 2014 5:08 PMReply

    I like the idea of Marlon Wayans branching out to play Richard Pryor I remember when his name first came up and in screen tests he pulled a Ray and transformed himself into the character of Pryor. I do like when comedic actors do more dramatic work like Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler, Monique, Jamie Foxx, Louie CK, even Marlon Wayans (Requiem For A Dream) it typically has worked out well when they do.

    Lee Daniels on the other hand I'm kind of iffy on, he is a competent director but his features tend to lean toward the side of melodrama than grit or edgy that a story like this may call for.

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