Back in February, Screen Rant reported that actor Eddie Murphy would portray Richard Pryor in a Bill Condon-directed biopic of the late comedian’s life, tentatively titled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said? At the time, the fit seemed perfect. Not only were Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor friends, but they are both respected as two of the most influential and successful comics in history. As of last week, however, it appears that Murphy won’t be stepping into the shoes of his longtime friend. According to an article over at HitFix, Murphy has been replaced in the role by actor Marlon Wayans (G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra).
In addition to the news that Murphy is out and Wayans is in, Paramount and Fox Searchlight are no longer considered potential distributors for the film. Instead, the project will now be produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company, which operates under the umbrella of Sony Pictures.
Although it is somewhat of a cliché to say, there are some people who are truly larger than life. In my estimation, Richard Pryor was one of them. From his raucous live performances to his unpredictable behind-the-scenes outbursts (I recommend reading Gene Wilder’s autobiography Kiss Me Like a Stranger for some insight into Pryor’s offscreen habits), there was truly nothing conventional about Richard Pryor. Does Marlon Wayans have the necessary dramatic chops to take on such a complex character?
For many moviegoers, the news that Marlon Wayans is taking on a more dramatic role may seem surprising. After all, the actor is most widely known for his recurring role in the Scary Movie franchise, among other financially successful, but critically panned comedies. Despite his propensity to star in cheap comedies, however, Marlon Wayans has proven in his career that he is capable of pulling off strong dramatic performances. Perhaps the finest example of Wayans’ dramatic abilities came in Darren Aronofsky’s acclaimed independent film, Requiem for a Dream.
Given his previous success in dramatic roles, along with the strong directorial vision of Bill Condon (Dreamgirls), I personally believe Marlon Wayans has the potential to do very well in his role. Of course, that’s just one man’s humble opinion. What do you think? Will Marlon Wayans make a good Richard Pryor?