Mike Epps to Play Richard Pryor in Biopic
Academy Award nominated director Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) next project is a biopic on who is considered to be the godfather of modern comedy, Richard Pryor. The search for the ideal actor to embody Pryor's unique cadence, irrationality and spirit, had to have been an enormous challenge. There were numerous rumors of front runners for the project including Marlon Wayans, Eddie Murphy and Michael B. Jordan. However Daniels and producer Oprah Winfrey have settled on comedian and actor Mike Epps (The Hangover).
This will be a huge undertaking for Epps, who up to this point hasn't taken many roles that highlight his dramatic abilities. He has been one of the leading stand-up acts of his own generation, so he will surely be able to tap into the moments of adulation and isolation that comedians inevitably endure. However, Pryor did not lead a normal life from any perspective. He had the ultimate story of poverty to stardom.
Pryor grew up in a brothel before finding stand-up comedy. He went on to stretch the limits of comedy in all mediums including TV, records, and film, while pushing racial and cultural boundaries. He reappropriated many racial slurs and was looked at by many to be a hero for taking artistic stands. However, Pryor's achievements were unfortunately equaled by his own demons, which led him to seven marriages with five wives, health problems, drug abuse that led him to set himself on fire and a very public deterioration due to multiple sclerosis. This will not be your ordinary biopic at all.
The fact that Daniels is helming the picture is a great sign that this will be more than a by-the-numbers production. Daniels filmography has shown a slow and steady hand, while he does complex character studies of the African-American experience. In both Precious and The Butler, he unashamedly exposes both of his main characters aspirations, challenges and their flaws openly. That seems to be the ideal choice to bring such a dynamic life to the big-screen. Oh yea, it better be really funny too...
What do you think of the casting?
Source: Point of Geeks, Slashfilm